Promoting environment protection in the Greek tourism market through culture and education
PROMOTING ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION IN THE GREEK TOURISM MARKET THROUGH CULTURE AND EDUCATION
Project Status: On going
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Greece’s tourism industry is putting pressure on its natural resources, both on the coast and its mountains (42 summits over 2000 meters). Launched in 2010, the Ecotourism-Greece.com project was conceived to encourage more sustainable tourism beyond the existing sun-sea-and-sand model in Greece. The new model encourages eco-friendly activities, raises awareness and strengthens local economies in mountainous areas.
- Encouraging only eco-friendly activities (hiking, mountain climbing, rock climbing, mountain biking, organised skiing, birdwatching, etc.)
- Raising awareness on sensitive habitats and biodiversity challenges
- Promoting local culture, heritage and gastronomy to support local communities in ways that support the environment
- Highlighting natural attractions, fauna and flora with focus on biodiversity and endemic species.
We are liaising with environmental agencies and official agencies to highlight and disseminate best practices. We have begun conducting awareness-raising seminars on responsible mountain tourism in certain areas, and have also worked with different municipalities and regions on promoting ecotourism with a focus on mountainous areas. In many remote, mountainous areas of Greece, many communities have little environmental awareness and do not understand the concept of sustainability. By carefully introducing ecotourism to these mountain areas, we will help highlight to local communities the importance of protecting their natural environment.
- 70% of Greece online on our portal in a way that promotes responsible mountain tourism and respects biodiversity
- seminars to promote our ecological values to businesses and local authorities
- partnerships with NGOs and private parties that have the same or similar values and visions
- highlight the remaining 30% of Greece in a sustainable way, including mountain fauna, flora, heritage and eco-friendly activities.
- better integrate global best practices and organisations such as the UNEP Tourism and Mountains, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, WWF Greece and others in our efforts.
HOW DO WE CONTRIBUTE TO MOUNTAIN PROTECTION
Ecotourism Greece ties its tourism product to raising awareness and educating all stakeholders on preserving the mountain environment, i.e travellers, accommodation providers in mountain areas, municipalities and local government agencies and environmental Management Bodies or agencies
We worked with the Management Body of the Mesolongi Lagoon to create an ecotourism map that incorporated mountain areas. We highlighted heritage, culture, fauna and flora on the map, which is available online.
We have become arguably the leading portal in Greece for promoting responsible tourism options such as mountain hiking and mountain climbing. About 90% of all hiking routes are in the mountains.
COLLABORATION WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES
Mountain hotels and guesthouses joining our platform receive guidelines on how to become eco-friendly and offer more nature-based activities to their guests. On the platform, all the hiking paths are highlighted and downloadable maps where applicable are available.
We collaborate with local and regional authorities on an ongoing basis, either in conjunction with awareness-raising or consulting projects, or to obtain updated information about natural resources, biodiversity, fauna and flora.
GOING FURTHER THAN BUSINESS AS USUAL
The travel portal highlights the nature, fauna and flora of every region, which requires meticulous work and research, often in conjunction with local authorities. We also make an effort to find, translate if necessary, and promote all nature-related ecological initiatives on our site completely free of charge, including environmental regulations and recommendations for travellers. A typical example of our research for one mountainous region is Mount Ochi and its valleys in Southern Evia (the second largest island in Greece).
We promote stewardship in mountain regions by:
- Encouraging eco-friendly activities of our partners, NGOs, or environmental agencies free of charge on our platforms
- Publishing do’s and don’ts online for visitors in National Parks.
- Highlighting eco-friendly mountain retreats and mountaineering clubs, so that visitors can help support local economies
- Focusing on local cuisine and products to encourage sustainability and discourage importing food and other products beyond the region’s borders.
- Highlighting local nature/flora, especially endemic species, and the need for their protection.