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Sustainable Greece Hub Launched in London


The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) has unveiled a new sustainability hub, shining a light on the incredible sustainability initiatives across the country.

The destination is making changes to become as sustainable as possible and by highlighting some of the amazing initiatives, hopes to inform travellers on the many ways to visit Greece responsibility, as well as inspire other tourism providers.

From islands now powered by renewable energy and plastic free, UNESCO protection for ancient sites and cultural practices, roads ruled by electric vehicles and bikes and destinations made more accessible for disabled travellers, to 3D printing using ocean waste, bags created from sails and invasive fish served in restaurants – modern-day Greek heroes are transforming the country and its tourism sector.

Here is just a snapshot of some of the initiatives underway:

  • The island of Astypalaia has shifted to electric vehicles, replacing 1,500 engine vehicles with 1,000 electric ones, including a new “ASTYBUS” electric bus network. Visitors can also use a new electric-vehicle sharing service astyGO, renting electric cars, e-scooters and e-bikes from an app.
  • Tilos will become the first island in the Mediterranean to be 100% energy self-sufficient, using solar and wind for energy. Landfill is no longer an issue, with more than 80% of Tilos’ rubbish now recycled.
  • Paros is set to become the first single-use plastic, waste-free island in the Med, through its pioneering initiative Clean Blue Paros with Common Seas.
  • A “Pick the Alien” initiative from iSea has been introduced by The Cyclades Preservation Fund and the Ionian Environmental Foundation in Paxoi, Corfu, Santorini, Naxos, Amorgos, which encourages local seafood markets, restaurants and shops to sell and consume invasive fish.
  • Rhodes is carving out a new future for sustainable tourism in collaboration with TUI, to launch “The Rhodes Co-Lab”, the first project of its kind in the world, created to explore how a tourism destination can develop sustainability, both in terms of preserving the environment but also socially and economically, creating jobs and involving the local community.

Greece’s islands, cities and sites are trialling new initiatives and innovations and hope to become a blueprint for other destinations to follow. In light of this, the hub will aim to inspire not only travellers, but also other Greek destinations looking to transform their tourism sector.

A useful new tool for the travel trade, the hub will shed light on a wide array of Greek tourism destinations, some of which are still relatively undiscovered in the UK market, as well as providing inspiration for new itineraries, particularly those focused on responsible travel.

Ms Sofia Zacharaki, Greek Deputy Minister who was present at the event commented, “Greece is home to some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes, deep-rooted ancient cultures and precious indigenous species, and it is our responsibility to make sure these are protected, whilst at the same time allowing locals and visitors to enjoy them. It is a big challenge, but one we are willing to tackle head on. It is so inspiring to see the work that is being put in to transform our tourism sector, and with policy changes, investment and prioritisation, focusing on diversification, sustainability and quality, we want to pave a new future for our country.”

Eleni Skarveli, Director GNTO UK & Ireland, “We’re seeing so many destinations across Greece, from tiny islands and major cities to regional municipalities and the private sector, step up to tackle issues around sustainability in tourism. It is truly inspiring and so we wanted to collate and share these positive stories. This hub is just the start, and we cannot wait to see it grow as more and more tourism partners take action and help us on our sustainability journey.”

The sustainability hub will focus on five themes: Sustainable Best Practices, Future Green Projects, Sustainable Initiatives, Sustainable Experiences and Sustainable Holidays in Greece.

Browsers can easily find information under each category and click through to individual pages to delve deeper. Eco-conscious travellers searching for Greek holidays, will find inspiration, approved as responsible and sustainable and taking in some of the country’s most cultural, historic and beautiful places.

The platform will be malleable with new stories, innovations and examples added regularly as the country continues on its sustainable journey.

The website was unveiled at an official launch event, including a panel discussion from sustainability experts: Victoria Turner, Executive Director Ionian Environmental Foundation, Richard Hammond, Executive Producer and Founder of Green Traveller Productions and Tim Williamson, Customer Director at Responsible Travel, moderated by Eleni Skarveli, Director GNTO UK & Ireland.

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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