Dear friend

Many people ask me what ecotourism means to us. It’s not an easy concept to explain as the impact of tourism is complex and has various social, cultural, economic and environmental effects in each area.


A definition that is commonly used is the following:

“Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.” (The Nature Conservancy, World Conservation Union)

Just because you operate in a nature reserve, it doesn’t mean that you have an ecotouristic business. Ecotourism emphasises conservation, education, traveller responsibility and active community participation. More specifically, “it:

green_bullet helps educate the traveller;
green_bullet provides funds for conservation;
green_bullet directly benefits the economic development and political empowerment of local communities;
green_bullet and fosters respect for different cultures and for human rights”*.

Ecotourism is very important so that future generations can experience the wonderful environment we have today.

We realize that it’s very difficult for an operation to be 100% sustainable due to financial and practical reasons. All the companies listed in our community show a continuous commitment towards becoming more sustainable every year and reducing their negative impact towards the environment and the people.

Here are some practical guidelines of what you can do to become more sustainable:


green_bullet Minimise your water consumption and waste as water is scarce and a major issue in Greece. Inform your clients of the issue and let them know how they can help;

green_bullet Minimise your consumption of electric energy (use solar energy, wind generators, insulation, sensory lights e.t.c.);

green_bullet Reduce CO2 emissions by using solar panels, organising activities that don’t involve fuel consumption (walking, sailing e.t.c.);

green_bullet Use of construction and cleaning products that are environmentally friendly;

green_bullet Recycle your litter and provide your staff and guests with guidelines;

green_bullet Educate your stuff and guests in order to increase awareness for the local biodiversity and the need to protect it;

green_bullet Use local resources and products, cultivate your own fruits and vegetables in order to reduce CO2 emmissions produced by transporting products from distant areas;

green_bullet Develop and get involved in programs for the preservation and protection of the local environment and species (clean ups, replantations e.t.c.) and get your guests to participate;

green_bullet Offer activities, programs, accommodation for small groups so you avoid putting strain on natural resources and other issues associated with overcrowding;

green_bullet If looking to set up a new business, prefer to operate in a non-tourist area in order to avoid putting too much strain on the environment caused by overcrowding.



green_bullet Use local suppliers and service providers to cover the needs of your business. Bring new business to the local community, so they benefit as well;

green_bullet Create and offer jobs to the local community and support its people;

green_bullet Recommend local products, services for your guests (i.e. local taverns instead of big international restaurant chains, local cheese rather than a branded one);

green_bullet Don’t put strain on local resources leading to shortages and inflation;

green_bullet Organise activities and programs that are directly linked to the local economy.


green_bullet Respect the local character of the area, its customs and culture and help its preservation;

green_bullet Recommend and inform your guests about the particularities of the area, local customs e.t.c.;

green_bullet Respect the local architecture and don’t build something that will go against the character of the area.

green_bullet Finally it would be a great contradiction if you follow all of the above but at the same time you mistreat or underpay your staff. We believe that respect towards your staff and guests is undoubtfully proof of your “respect for the people”.

The list is endless and you should constantly be looking for new ways to make your business more sustainable. We’d like to use the above as a working document and build on it.

Another problem I’d like to stress is that fears have grown around “greenwashing” – many companies exaggerate their claims to attract more business and take advantage of the term “eco” and “responsible”. We recommend that:

green_bullet You have a clear written policy that is available to your guests for comments and feedback;

green_bullet You set targets every year and review them annually;

green_bullet It would even be a great idea to allow a small budget aside in order to build on that list.

green_bullet Read more about us and our philosophy!

green_bullet Please contact us at for more information and your views.

* Honey, Martha (2008). Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Second ed.). Washington, DC: Island Press

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