Greek Tourism Aims for Sustainability, Reducing Environmental Footprint
Greece is committed to developing a sustainable tourism model that will effectively minimize the sector’s environmental footprint and will place biodiversity at the center of its planning, said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias in a recent interview to cnn.gr.
The Greek minister said the industry was set to play a leading role in the country’s transition to sustainable practices and underlined the importance of including green issues in marine and coastal tourism planning with particular emphasis on vulnerable communities and smaller, remote islands.
In this direction he cited the GR-eco Islands Initiative which kicked off from the tiny Dodecanese island of Chalki and which follows a similar initiative in Astypalea.
This model, he said, will expand to other destinations. The idea, Kikilias said, is also to identify lesser-known destinations and to promote these via a network that will inform visitors of special characteristics and offerings.
Another key priority, the minister said, was targeting unknown areas in mainland Greece and less so the islands with the ultimate aim to preserve and showcase authenticity and diversify experiences offered.
“Combined with alternative forms of tourism – which, contrary to what many believe, bring high added value to the entire spectrum of the Greek economy – are our main tools,” he said.
Kikilias stressed that over the last two years and during the Covid-19 pandemic the tourism sector’s contribution has a multiplier value, strengthening many important market sectors.
Additionally, he said ministry priorities include attracting investments, upgrading infrastructure and maintaining the quality and authenticity of the tourism product.
Lastly, the ministry is continuing efforts to extend the tourism season by showcasing winter destinations and city breaks and through new agreements with tour operators including Der Touristic Group, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Jet2.