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Greece Shifts Focus to Offering ‘Meaningful’ Tourism Experiences

The importance of tapping into Greek heritage and culture to create meaningful tourist experiences is a new goal for the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), said its president Angela Gerekou during the Green Destinations 2022 conference held in Athens this week.

Referring to the GNTO’s initiatives in this direction, she said the focus was now on formulating a new regenerative form of tourism which offers meaning through experiences in nature and among local communities.

“We can create strategies in our campaigns that empower the resilience and sustainability of local communities,” she said, adding that it was absolutely vital to adapt these to the carrying capacity of each destination in order to avoid phenomena of overtourism in the future.

“In other words, we have to make our tourism meaningful,” she said.

GNTO President Angela Gerekou

Gerekou spoke during a the “Reuniting for a Responsible Future of Tourism” session organized by the Athens Municipality in collaboration with the non-profit Green Destinations organization, the Future of Tourism movement and with the support of the GNTO.

She went on to speak about the importance of transitioning to sustainable practices in tourism, which is a leading driver of the economy, particular in these changing times.

The GNTO’s chief said implementing plans in this direction required cooperation with international networks of people and professionals who have already made this transition.

“Sustainable destinations does not only refer to green tourism, but to the whole cycle of action, organization and management of the destination. Specialization, evaluation and proper information is the only way at a time when everything in tourism is changing,” she said.

“It is time to redefine the tourism sector, one of the most important economic sectors internationally and to move from sustainable to a more regenerative and more substantial model of tourism,” said Gerekou adding that this year’s World Tourism Day theme “Rethink Tourism” was more relevant than ever.

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  1. Christine Schulz Reply

    Thank you for this very interesting article. We have been running holidays on the island of Skyros since 1979, often featuring distinguished authors and celebrities.

    Our holidays are inspired by the ancient Greek culture which viewed physical, moral and intellectual excellence, all described by the single word areté, as indivisible, and demanded the honouring of all our constituent parts – mind, body and spirit. We have always strived to make our tourism on the island deeply meaningful.

    We have absolute respect for the island where we host our holidays and have given and received great support. We have raised funds for local schools, individual families, animal sanctuaries, the medical centre and various other organisations.

    We would be pleased for representatives from the GNTO to get in touch in case we can be of any assistance with these new initiatives. You are also very welcome to use Skyros holidays as an example in your campaign to make tourism meaningful.

    Your sincerely,

    Christine Schulz
    Managing Director
    Skyros Holidays

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