Op-Ed: Olympia Anastasopoulou on sustainable tourism
Amid an unprecedented international turmoil, it is the right moment for a profound systemic shift to a more sustainable tourism economy that works for both travellers and the planet.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are vital for a recovery that leads to greener, more inclusive economies, and stronger, more resilient societies.
We now have an opportunity to fast-track sustainable development by implementing recovery plans that are aligned with the SDGs.
The vision of the Ministry of Tourism of Greece is to increasingly comply with the SDGs of the UN 2030 Agenda by mainstreaming them into the national tourism policy and by establishing a national evaluation system to monitor the progress of their implementation.
To be more specific, the wide range of interventions to boost tourism resilience and sustainability encompasses the creation of Destination Management and Marketing Organizations (DMMOs) to 10 World-Class Greek Tourism Destinations as pilots, improving licensing, certification and start-up operation procedures for tourism businesses and infrastructure for enterprises linked with special interest tourism, as well as improved data management.
Moreover, since sustainable recovery is linked to the smart management of tourism flows, slow tourism and micro experiences, as well as immersive travel, greener and climate friendly holidays, extended stays linked to the possibility of tele-working (digital nomads legislation) are also widely promoted.
In addition, with more than 16,000 kilometers of coastline, more than 6,000 islands and islets, coastal and maritime tourism can be a powerful tool for the development of the Greek economy.
In order to promote the aforementioned special form of tourism, the Greek State has currently developed a plan that evolves in three strategic axes:
- The development of a new business-friendly institutional framework for tourist ports with the aim of significantly accelerating the relevant procedures for their allocation, contracting, and licensing. Our goal here is to create a favorable investment environment in order to attract significant investments.
- The introduction of a coherent marketing strategy that places thematic tourism and maritime tourism in the epicenter: We move beyond the traditional “sea and sun” model and we further develop the brand identity of the country by offering a holistic tourist experience.
- The establishment of a Maritime Information Tourism Research Center in strong collaboration with the UN World Tourism Organization. This crucial project will provide us with invaluable information to better align and focus our maritime tourism strategy.
All of the above shall contribute to the substantial development of maritime tourism and especially yachting, with the ultimate goal of establishing Greece as a top global player in this key market segment.
Needless to say that out of the total of 320 million euros from the European RRF (Recovery and Resilience Facility), 40% will be invested in upgrading tourist ports of Greece.
In conclusion, sustainability is at the core of our strategy and in order to make tourism increasingly sustainable, responsible and resilient, it is important to focus on all of our country’s competitive advantages and implement the suitable policies for the optimum outcome.
Secretary General of Tourism Policy & Development, Ministry of Tourism
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