How Greece is spearheading sustainable holiday experiences in Europe

Greece has long been one of the top holiday destinations across Europe. According to research by the World Travel & Tourism Council, the travel and tourism sector has almost reached pre-pandemic levels, with the industry project to contribute €39.2 billion to the Greek economy.

International visitor spending has also grown significantly, contributing €19.1 billion to the national economy. Travellers enjoy booking holidays to Greece because of its exquisite coastlines, ancient ruins, world-class museums, and fantastic food. Furthermore, there are also plenty of natural wonders and ancient cities, with the country hosting 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Mount Athos in Halkidiki and the Medieval City of Rhodes.

Given the many unique historical sites and nature reserves, it’s no surprise that Greece is spearheading more sustainable tourism. This form of travel aims to minimise tourism’s environmental, social, and economic negative impacts for the betterment of the environment and the preservation of tourist sites— benefiting everyone in the long term. In this article, we explore some of the initiatives that Greece is taking for sustainable holiday experiences:

Government and organisation partnership and support

One of the biggest drivers of sustainable tourism initiatives is Greece’s government. To speed up the green and sustainable transformation, the Greek Ministry of Tourism has partnered with tech giant Google to mobilise more comprehensive efforts. This includes two significant collaborations:

  • The Global Sustainable Tourism Council– This partnership aims to provide an educational program for tourism professionals to help businesses effectively communicate their environmentally friendly actions, create strategies for sustainability, and receive eco-certification.
  • Social entrepreneurs– Google is providing €910 thousand worth of funding to support organisations working towards environmental sustainability causes and eco-tourism in Greece.

Reducing carbon footprint in transportation and shift to renewable energy

Reducing carbon footprint is another key part of sustainability, which is why organisations and governments are going to lengths to encourage travellers to cut their emissions. Aside from walking and cycling, tourists can now access transportation options that are more energy-efficient and carbon-neutral, such as electric vehicles (EVs).

Astypalaia is one of the few Greek islands undergoing a major electric transformation. As part of the “Smart and Sustainable Island” program, in 2022, Astypalea received electric cars from a joint plan by the Greek government and German carmaker Volkswagen as an attempt to shift to e-mobility. Some of these EVs are used for the latest ride-share service, ASTYBUS, replacing the traditional bus line with limited routes.

In addition to providing EVs, the Hellenic Republic and Volkswagen Group also aim to improve energy sourcing and gradually convert to locally produced renewable energy. Right now, several small solar plants supply the current field of EVs. Current targets are working towards a hybrid power system made of a 3.5MW solar power plant with a battery storage capacity to generate energy for 100% of e-mobility and at least 60% of the island’s needs.

While work-in-progress, Greece has taken significant steps to address sustainability. Through government and organisation partnership and support, the adoption of carbon-neutral transportation, and shifts towards renewable energy, the country has created more opportunities for sustainable holiday experiences— serving as a blueprint for other countries. For those interested in a deeper dive into the experience of taking a Greek holiday, we recommend visiting our post on Mediterranean cuisine to get insight into how food was shaped in Greece and other neighbouring countries.

Read more: News ...