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Athens Airport Workshop Brings Sustainability to the Table

Tourism and travel stakeholders discussed ways to transition to more sustainable practices as part of the post-Covid-19 “new normal” for air travel during a workshop organized by Athens International Airport (AIA).

Titled  “Growing Sustainably Together”, the workshop was part of a series of initiatives planned by AIA aimed at engaging stakeholders to further enhance their joint understanding and sustainability-promoting efforts.

Panelists included European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC) President Jennifer Cords, Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki, Vice President Innovation & Quality Aeroporti di Roma SpA Emanuele Calà, INSETE Research Director Aris Ikkos, Gebr Heinemann Corporate Responsibility Lead Svenja Fischer, Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) General Manager Maria Gatsou, and other key tourism stakeholders in Greece.

AIA Chief Strategy Officer George Kallimasias

Welcoming workshop participants, AIA Chief Strategy Officer George Kallimasias referred to the airport’s resilience during the pandemic adding that the operating company is planning to invest in a 16MWp photovoltaic park as part of its commitment to net zero emissions.

Deputy Minister: Synergies are key

“In the new tourism era the urgent need for recovery will increasingly focus on addressing the challenge of climate change and the answer can only be: blue, green, digital and sustainable. The only way forward for the planet, and in particular for Greece,” said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki.

The minister went on to underline the importance of synergies in the achievement of sustainable goals for the future. “It’s not just an option, it’s our duty and obligation for the generations to come,” she added, underlining the crucial role of the travel sector. 

Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki

“The sector can contribute immensely to the overall effort to limit emissions and promote a more environmentally friendly model for the travel economy of the future,” said Zacharaki.

Speaking on behalf of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), general manager Maria Gatsou said it was time for travel & tourism to seize the moment and enact meaningful changes. “SETE is aiming towards 2030 to focus both on its own sustainability transformation and on the sector’s coordination through a series of initiatives that will act as a catalyst for a better common future,” she said.

Representing the Hellenic Travel Trade Confederation (HTTC), Constantinos Trivizas underlined the importance of passing on travel retail sector know-how to the younger generations and the need to create the conditions for a sustainable future based on highly skilled decisionmakers open to intergenerational communication and innovation.

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