Sustainable Tourism: Challenges and Opportunities

Tourism is a key issue for all the islands involved in our project. Increased tourism can bring benefits, both in employment and investment opportunities and in the chance to share and celebrate local cultures. However, tourism can also bring problems, making housing and other essentials unaffordable for local people, and threatening delicate ecosystems through over-development.

In this context and as part of our webinar series, Agatha Rodi presented the importance of sustainable tourism which can benefit local communities. From the perspective of Kimolos, a small island with a rich and vibrant culture which attracts many visitors, Agatha shared how environmental sensitivity and cultural preservation can be aligned with an approach to tourism which supports community wellbeing while promoting education and awareness. From handmade straw roofs, to the revival of the traditional drouva with loom designs over a century old, to the open-air Cine Kalisperitis, the cultural heritage of Kimolis is celebrated and shared with visitors.

Agatha was joined by Zafeiria Logotheti, a young woman working in the tourism industry, who presented the role of Kimolian culture for tourists. She shared her enthusiasm for helping people to discover the island’s magnificent culture and heritage, including its exquisite and renowned cuisine and the making of traditional products. Both speakers emphasised that while tourism can bring challenges, it offers special opportunities to bring culture and heritage to new people and engage in practices supporting environmental sustainability.

As we discussed, sustainable tourism is not just about reducing negative impacts; it’s about creating a positive and symbiotic relationship between the island’s environment, its residents, and its visitors. This approach is essential for ensuring that island communities can continue to thrive both economically and culturally while preserving their natural and cultural heritage.

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