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Two Greek Hotel Bodies Join UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge

Two hotel bodies in Greece, the Santorini Hoteliers Association (SHA) and the Atlantida Association of Small Local Hotel Owners on Santorini announced that they had signed a global agreement to promote sustainable tourism and heritage conservation through the “UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge”.

Created in 2019 in cooperation with Expedia Group, the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge aims to promote sustainable travel, community resilience and heritage conservation globally. By signing the pledge, properties publicly commit to actions that will reduce the environmental impact of their businesses, raising awareness to travelers and helping them make more sustainable travel choices

In this direction, the SHA said it would be providing assistance to island residents who are in need while the Atlantida Association of Small Local Hotel Owners would be taking actions to support the well-being of residents by encouraging local employment, the use of local suppliers and work that respects the island’s natural environment, aiming for the smallest possible environmental footprint.

“We are very excited to join UNESCO’s collective effort, contributing to the conservation and protection of the environment and achieving our commitment to reduce single-use plastics, support local communities and create a sustainable tourism industry for Santorini,” said Santorini Hoteliers Association President Antonis Iliopoulos.

He went on to add that upgraded sustainable practices and responsible tourism on Santorini as well as increasing environmental awareness were at the heart of local hospitality.

Source: Expedia Group

On his part, Georgios Damigos, president of the Atlantida Association of Small Local Hotel Owners, also said he was pleased to be part of the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge, adding that Atlantida members would be taking hands-on action towards change.

“Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact that travel can have on local environments, economies and individuals. A recent survey by Expedia Group revealed that 90 percent of consumers look for sustainable options when booking, but it also tells us that around 70 percent of travelers report feeling confused by the wealth of information surrounding sustainable travel. Our collective role is to enable travelers to act more sustainably with better information and eco-friendly travel options,” said Damigos.

Ernesto Ottone, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO. Photo source: UNESCO

“The UNESCO declaration provides a framework for concrete actions to improve livelihoods and charts a path towards a more sustainable future for tourism. The commitment by the Santorini Hoteliers Association and the Association of Small Local Hoteliers ‘Atlantida’ shows that we can make a difference by working closely with local communities. We therefore urge other associations to sign the declaration and commit to progress around these key priorities for sustainable tourism,” said Ernesto Ottone, assistant director-general for culture at UNESCO.

The UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge has over 4,000 hotels and travel companies committed to making a sustainable change. All businesses that sign the pledge receive a certificate labeled “We signed the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge” and renew their commitment and report their progress on an annual basis. They also get increased promotion with a special badge on the travel booking websites of Expedia Group.

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