“Hopefully, this will be the start for a sustainable future for our destination,” said Mayor of Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands Meropi Spyridoula Ydraiou.
Established in 2010 at the initiative of 32 global organisations dedicated to sustainable development, the GSTC conducts destination assessments and helps local authorities explore ways for balanced development of tourism in their localities.
The announcement of the Greek island’s membership follows the Greek island’s destination assessment by the GSTC, which started in December 2020 and lasted for five months. During that time, city leaders of Corfu worked together with GSTC and CLIA to assess their sustainability status and to map out a plan for a future of sustainable tourism.
The GSTC Destination Assessment focuses on four main categories of destination sustainability: destination management and governance; economic benefits to local communities; protection of cultural heritage, community, and visitor well-being; environmental protection and conservation.
With the fact that the majority of Corfu’s generated income is from tourism, Mayor Ydraiou highlights that the municipality is encouraging and supporting the cooperation with GSTC in an effort to ensure the sustainability of tourism development to the destination on a long term basis.
“Such a perspective will ensure a better living environment and quality in services both to the locals as well as to the visitors and tourists. This can not be achieved shortly, however, our municipality decided to invest in proper tourism planning and balanced growth for the next generations,” she said.
Sustainable tourism plans of Corfu
It should be mentioned that the Municipality of Central Corfu and the Diapontian Islands is participating in the “100 Intelligent Cities Challenge – ICC”, a European Commission initiative that supports 136 cities in using cutting-edge technologies to lead the intelligent, green and socially responsible recovery.
The municipality participates under the prior City Goal “Waste Management and Circular Economy” and secondarily in the “Green and Smart Mobility” program. Through its participation, the municipality is aiming to effectively reduce its total carbon footprint and help substantially and practically in the protection of the environment.
GSTC welcomes Corfu
Speaking on behalf of the GSTC, the Council’s CEO, Randy Durband, applauded Corfu’s tourism managers for taking seriously the imperative for continuous improvement in managing their destinations more sustainably.
“Applying the GSTC criteria is to take a holistic and systematic approach to sustainable development and management,” Durband said.
GSTC encourages NTOs and DMOs (destinations) pursuing sustainability practices in development and management of tourism, to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria, as well as support local business to apply the GSTC Industry Criteria. Destinations can eventually aim for achieving certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body as a sustainable tourist destination.
“With the great example of Corfu for Destination Assessment in Greece, a really first in its kind collaboration scheme between municipality and port authority was initiated for the sake of a more sustainable future of tourism in destinations where the cruises are a strong part of the total tourism product. GSTC is supporting this transition to a more sustainable interaction, producing tangible conclusions for next years’ tourism roadmap, that will be incorporated with the municipality’s new strategy for development,” said Dr. Ioannis Pappas, GSTC Director for the Mediterranean.
The Municipality of Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands includes the central (metropolitan) municipality of Corfu and three Diapontian Islands (a complex of islands to the northwest), along with the other two other new municipalities of North and South Corfu, and Paxos island south of Corfu.