In the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Europe, sustainability in the tourism sector is lagging behind that of Central and Northern Europe. MedVenture reaches out to four important stakeholder groups on the ground within the hospitality and tourism sector in order to raise awareness on sustainable development. It empowers these stakeholders in shaping a better future based on a green economy and the idea of Blue Growth where coastal tourism is concerned. These four stakeholder groups are:
- Tourism providers – hotel owners, travel agencies, tourism-related activity providers
- Hospitality and tourism suppliers – companies that offer goods and services to the travel and tourism sector
- Travellers – visitors and tourists, both from within a country and from abroad
- Citizens and laypersons who seek more online information on topics related to sustainable tourism, sustainable development and Blue Growth
Often these stakeholder groups are not adequately covered when visions, strategies, and policies are put in place to promote sustainable development in tourism, but remain dormant at a policymaking and governmental level. MedVenture connects with these stakeholders through a combination of means such as awareness-raising campaigns, environmental initiatives, one-day seminars, industry workshops, online platforms, storytelling and social media.
In short, MedVenture takes a holistic approach to advancing sustainability in tourism. It strives to achieve a balance of economic, cultural, social and environmental considerations in the tourism sector in order to limit the negative impacts of tourism, enhance the wellbeing of local communities, reduce seasonality spikes, and support local economies.
MedVenture founded Ecotourism Greece, the most comprehensive portal in Greece for eco-friendly and sustainable tourism aimed at changing the tourism paradigm in the nation. This vision is being supported by a vigorous social media campaign and involves promoting nature parks, Natura 2000 sites, protected areas, coastal regions, biodiversity, cultural heritage and respect for the environment. It has also:
- Joined forces with the Mediterranean Centre of Environment to empower tourism stakeholders to use storytelling as a tool for promoting rural tourism and showcasing cultural heritage.
- Participated in founding the Hellenic Ecotourism Society formed in 2015, whose aim is to further sustainable tourism in Greece and lobby for environmental causes. The Society enjoys a wide base of influencers, multipliers and decision makers.
- Organized seminars for local tourism stakeholders and local government representatives on ecotourism. Noteworthy is the seminar for the regeneration of Lake Karla in Greece's Magnesia region, and how the area can become a hub for ecotourism. The seminar was co-organized with Nature Conservation Consultants and the final report (in Greek) is available here.
- Assisted over 100 SMEs in the tourism sector (Guesthouses, eco-activity providers, travel agencies) across Greece to raise their ecological profile and enhance their branding. These SMEs are being promoted through the Ecotourism-Greece.com portal and its robust bouquet of social media.
- Teamed up with Paths of Greece, which excels in mapping, renewing and signposting hiking paths, in order to promote hiking, mountain climbing and tours in nature across Greece.
Throughout history, many cultures have come close to extinction due to a non-sustainable way of life and economy. Greece was recently the seventh most visited country in the European Union and sixteenth in the world, with one in five people working in a sector related to tourism.
Our vision of Greece is a flourishing, sustainable one where tourism advances the economy and respects the environment. To reach out to Greek hoteliers and restaurateurs with this philosophy in mind, we have created the Green Guide for Tourism Businesses in Greece. This annual electronic guide provides a list of local and 'green' suppliers for the industry, giving preference to Greek companies, products, services and initiatives as much as possible.
The first edition of this guide will be published in early 2015 and will be distributed free of charge. If you are interested in acquiring this guide or in being featured in it, please get in touch with us.
Despite the fact that tourism is a significant economic driver, it can also be quite damaging to the planet’s environment and peoples. Overtourism is a common problem in some “hot spots” where degradation caused by inflow can vastly overwhelm even the benefits of tourism revenue, especially when that revenue is not distributed equitably.International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
Ecotourism is now defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education. Education is meant to be inclusive of both staff and guests.UNESCO
All tourism activities of whatever motivation – holidays, business travel, conferences, adventure travel and ecotourism – need to be sustainable. Sustainable tourism is defined as “tourism that respects both local people and the traveller, cultural heritage and the environment”. It seeks to provide people with an exciting and educational holiday that is also of benefit to the people of the host country.UNWTO
When responsibly planned and managed, tourism has demonstrated its capacity to support job creation, promote inclusive social integration, protect natural and cultural heritage, conserve biodiversity, generate sustainable livelihoods and improve human wellbeing. As the sector is experiencing tremendous growth, collective efforts to ensure its long-term sustainability are essential.European Commission