Local authorities on Corfu and Heraklion, Crete, have teamed up with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to assess the sustainability status of each city and map out a plan for sustainable tourism.
The destination assessments of Corfu and Heraklion, to be co-funded with CLIA and conducted by the GSTC, will provide benchmark data, and explore ways for balanced development of tourism in their localities.
The sustainable assessment process will begin in December 2020 and involve three phases across a period of five months: an initial preparatory phase of research and data compilation, a second phase of on-site assessment with stakeholder engagement, and a final phase of analysis and report.
Commenting on the cooperation, Heraklion Mayor Vassilis Lambrinos underlined that the municipality is responding to the challenging times by taking the bold step of evaluating the sustainability of the economic and tourist capital of Crete.
“We are cooperating with CLIA on this initiative and we anticipate that, with the knowledge and support of GSTC, new perspectives will be opened for Heraklion as a tourist destination as well as further development of cruise tourism, while respecting sustainability principles,” Mayor Lambrinos said.
On her part, the Mayor of Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands, Meropi Spyridoula Ydraiou, expressed her hope that the cooperation will be the start for a sustainable future for the destination.
“We are sure that the Municipality of Corfu and Diapontian, CLIA, GSTC and Corfu Port will set up a strong cooperation ensuring the best for the destination and the society,” she said.
With regard to GSTC’s involvement, CEO Randy Durband highlighted that the GSTC pledges its usual impartiality in delivering objective assessments of the current approaches to sustainable management.
“The GSTC applauds the popular destinations of Corfu and Heraklion for taking seriously the imperative for continuous improvement in managing their destinations more sustainably. We also applaud CLIA for its active participation in these endeavors,” said Durband.
CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead said the city leadership of Corfu and Heraklion would be commended for their commitment to mapping a sustainable future for the benefit of residents and visitors.
“The cruise industry is dedicated to sustainability… While we may only be a small part of the tourism sector, we want to play a big part in helping to preserve the heritage and environment of the world’s favourite destinations,” she noted.
The GSTC Destination Assessment focuses on four main categories of destination sustainability:
- Destination management and governance
- Economic benefits to local communities
- Protection of cultural heritage, community, and visitor well-being
- Environmental protection and conservation.