AFEA: Sustainable tourism with social cohesion and investment in local communities

The need to review the strategy and actions of the tourism industry, given the “urgency” to address the effects of climate change and international developments in relation to sustainability issues and the governments’ commitments for the Agenda 2030, was the main topic of the online event organized by CSR HELLAS, under the title "Greek Tourism: Towards a new Sustainable Development model".

The webinar was participated by Sofia Zacharaki, the Deputy Minister of Tourism in Greece, Maria Alexiou, President of CSR HELLAS Network and important representatives of the Meetings & Tourism Industry in Greece, among them Sissy Lignou, AFEA CEO and member of IAPCO BoD, underlining the importance of this subject in the industry. 

The discussion focused on the “next day” of tourism and hospitality, in the context of developments taking place on European and International level and related to Sustainability and Responsible Business issues, and to the impact of the pandemic, in creating a new form of business environment for the industry.

Among the main topics raised in the discussion, were the importance of integrating the principles of sustainable development into the strategy and operation of tourism businesses. In order to achieve this, the need for support and involvement on behalf of the government is undoubtable and crucial. On this basis, the majority of the speakers referred also to the importance of education for the younger generations and the incorporation of the subject of Sustainability in Tourism Schools.   

To conclude, in the coming years, new requirements and expectations of consumers will be emerging, and these factors will affect the way tourism and hospitality operates. In this new environment, companies in the Meetings & Tourism sector are called upon to adapt by reviewing the current business-as-usual model and taking into account the new conditions that are formed on the basis of Sustainable Development and the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis.

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