Integrating sustainable practices into island activity is crucial and will add value to the Greek tourism product, according to Olympia Anastasopoulou, secretary general for Tourism Policy and Development.
Speaking during the first meeting of the guidance committee for the management of the projects of the GR-eco Islands-NSRF initiative held on Kythnos, Anastasopoulou said it was time to “take responsibility” to prevent the destruction caused by three current crises: climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity.
Priorities in this direction include reducing the sector’s environmental footprint, addressing overtourism with new infrastructure and smart flow management, sustainable community-centered practices, and attracting investments focused on sustainability, resilience, accessibility, innovation, and green tourism.
The committee agreed that energy transition, sustainable resource management, environmental protection, entrepreneurship and innovation should all begin with the development of digital infrastructure, island connectivity and the creation of new jobs.
The next steps include finalizing selection criteria for the islands, entering consultation with local communities and stakeholders, reaching agreement on interventions, and formulating a roadmap – all to be completed by the committee’s next meeting in the fall to be held on a North Aegean island.
Launched in late 2021 from the island of Chalki, the GR-eco Islands national initiative of the Greek Government aims to transform Greek islands into models of green economy, energy autonomy, digital innovation and ecological mobility.
The initiative includes actions such as the increased use of Renewable Energy sources, the creation of digital infrastructure, the promotion of energy efficiency, the sustainable management of waste and water, e—mobility and the electrification of transport, and the green transformation of agriculture and tourism and the development of part and other infrastructures, through targeted interventions and customised programs of the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the co-competent Ministries under the “umbrella” of the National Plan for Energy and Climate.
The guidance committee for the management of the projects of the GReco Islands initiative, which are included in the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) Programs 2021-2027, was formed by the Greek Ministry of Development and Investments in late May.