The Greek cruise destinations of Corfu and Heraklion are ready to map out a plan for a future of sustainable tourism following the completion of their sustainability assessments conducted by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
A project co-funded by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the sustainability assessments are expected to help both Corfu and Heraklion invest in proper tourism planning and balanced growth in the years to come.
“The successful completion of both assessments was based on the application of the GSTC methodology through the sustainable destinations criteria, with the input of all the stakeholders of the tourism supply chain, focusing on the areas of management, economy and society, culture and environment, offering effective tools for a sustainable destination,” Dr. Ioannis Pappas, GSTC Director for the Mediterranean Region and Assessor for both destinations, said.
The sustainability assessments are expected to help the two Greek destinations identify key risks and set the foundation for an action plan for sustainable tourism.
CLIA invests to support cruise destinations
“We are pleased to partner with the cities as part of our commitment to responsible tourism,” said Marie-Caroline Laurent, CLIA’s Director General in Europe.
CLIA co-financed the sustainability assessments jointly with the two municipalities and port authorities, showing the industry’s commitment to taking an active role and directly supporting cruise destinations.
“Cruise tourism brings significant social and economic benefits to communities, and we want to help destinations to manage tourism responsibly so that they remain great places to live and visit,” she added.
Both cities were selected by CLIA for the GSTC assessments as two of the most popular Greek cruise destinations and homeports.
Corfu ranks within the country’s top five cruise ports in terms of calls, while its Old Town is a world heritage site of UNESCO. Heraklion has considerably increased its popularity in recent years after taking a leading role for cruise resumption following its temporary pause.
According to the Mayor of Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands, Meropi Spyridoula Ydraiou, the municipality is aiming to ensure the sustainability of tourism development in 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. Our municipality has decided to invest in proper tourism planning and balanced growth for the next generations,” she added.
On his part, Heraklion Deputy Mayor for Tourism Giorgos Sisamakis noted that the municipality’s goal is to offer all visitors high quality services that stand up to the standards of the “Cretan way of life”, i.e. with respect to people and the environment.
“The sustainability of Heraklion as a tourism destination is the stake we are determined to win and we are lucky to have partnered with CLIA in this effort,” he said, adding that through collaboration and synergies the municipality is aiming for Heraklion to become a sustainable, cultural, tourism destination.
CLIA and its members engage with cruise destinations in a variety of ways depending upon the circumstances of the locality.
Last year CLIA agreed to offer support to the first research and monitoring centre on sustainable tourism developed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and established in Greece.
Moreover, CLIA and its members remain in regular dialogue with key destinations to understand the local challenges and cooperate on solutions. Other activities include helping to identify new cruise destinations as well as new and alternative tours in well-established destinations.