Establishing the Greek island of Rhodes as a model destination of sustainable tourism development is at the heart of an agreement signed this week by the South Aegean Region, TUI Group, and the TUI Care Foundation.
South Aegean Region Governor George Chatzimarkos, TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen, and TUI Care Foundation Chairman of the Board, Thomas Ellerbeck signed the agreement during a special ceremony in Brussels this week setting into motion the ambitious “The Rhodes Co-Lab – Sustainable Tourism Destination” project.
The project, which has been jointly designed by the South Aegean Region, the Municipality of Rhodes, and TUI Group, aims to transform Rhodes into an international model destination for sustainable tourism development.
Expressing his satisfaction, Chatzimarkos said it was a “big day for the future of our islands”, adding that the project was “ambitious and challenging”.
“Environment, economy, society is our triptych: the golden mean, and at the same time, the great challenge that is worth fighting for. Today, we are planning the ‘tomorrow’ we deserve,” said Chatzimarkos, inviting all stakeholders to join forces and help “formulate a holistic sustainable business model for tourism which will allow the fundamental redesign of the destination and will be scalable for destinations around the world”.
Key areas of action aimed at creating a positive impact of the “Rhodes Co-Lab” Project are: moving towards a circular economy; restoring the island’s biodiversity and protecting its ecosystem; creating green economic growth and benefits for the local economy; reducing air, water and soil pollution.
Goals among others include creating new jobs and more local entrepreneurship opportunities; increasing local added value through innovative experiences; strengthening the link between local small and medium-sized enterprises and the tourism sector; efficient energy, water and waste management; boosting local resource production; sustainable mobility and fuel transformation; reforestation and land regeneration; preserving the island’s biodiversity; marine and coastal protection; promoting careers in tourism through training and skills upgrades; protecting and promoting Rhodes’ authentic culture and heritage.
“The Rhodes Co-Lab” – 1st Sustainable Global Tourism Destination was first presented by TUI Group in January to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.