The fifth “Elafonisos Eco 2022 Symposium” took place in Elafonisos from 17 to 22 May 2022. This year it was organized by Elafonisos Eco, an association founded in 2013 aimed at the conservation and protection of the natural environment on the Greek island. GTI was glad to participate in such a remarkable initiative organised by an island member of the GTI Observatory.
The event addressed the most important issues related to sustainable tourism on the island. Among others, the mayor of Trikala, Dimitris Papastergiou, brought the experience and lessons learned from his city as a model to follow for the whole country.
The first masterplan for the island of Elafonisos was presented, designed by architects Stavros Dendrinos, Roulis Prinianaki and Eleni Boulamatsi, which aims to map, evaluate, document and propose a series of ecological interventions throughout the island, and create a strategy for sustainable, cultural, natural, alternative and thematic tourism through community involvement and development, with modern infrastructure and services.
GTI is particularly sensitive to the topic of tourism in the islands, as the sector represents their main source of income. The problem of seasonality has always afflicted the islands, creating several issues in the management of basic facilities (supply of drinking water, electricity, waste management, etc.). For this reason, it is necessary that central governments, in collaboration with municipalities, adopt strong policies and adequate financing instruments so that decisive steps can be taken in the sustainable tourism sector, in particular for the protection of ecosystems.
GTI is strongly convinced of this and in fact launched a task force dedicated to the topic of sustainable tourism, involving stakeholders and experts from all over the world. As the Maldives Minister of Tourism Mr. Abdulla Mausoom told the GTI task force, tourism and environment are one and can’t be separated. The environment is the main sustainable tourism’s asset, thus the beauty of unique island ecosystems must be preserved. Local communities have to be deeply engaged along with the upcoming growth in tourists’ demand for more sustainable tourism.
Gianni Chianetta, Director of GTI, took part in the Symposium and commented: “The GTI Observatory is keen to support its member Elafonisos along their sustainable transition and we are going to start a path which will help the island reach certification as a green destination”.
Note for the editors
Greening the Islands (GTI) is an innovative organization that supports self-sufficiency and sustainability of islands worldwide. GTI launched the GTI Observatory, a global initiative that aggregates key stakeholders to match island needs and innovative solutions in energy, water, mobility and environmental sectors. The GTI Observatory facilitates the development of shared strategies between governments and corporates.