Sustainable tourism card launched in Thessaloniki

Sustainable tourism card launched in Thessaloniki

It is part of the EU’s SUSTOURISMO initiative which aims to promote more eco-friendly tourism alternatives

Europe’s tourism sector is one of its most important vehicles of economic growth. Yet it is also the one hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns and travel restrictions. Traditional major tourist destination countries that rely on the summer season to sustain growth, like Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and others, have been scrambling to find new solutions that would help them come out of the crisis with as much of their economies intact as possible.

Some have relied on the reduction of fares and the offer of cheaper flights and stays, while others have instead opted to promote their resorts as safe and protected, relying on their countries’ track record of successfully handling COVID-19.

Relying on the environment

A third group – among which is Greece’s Thessaloniki, have instead decided to promote more environmentally friendly tourism alternatives to those eager to visit. That is accomplished through the EU’s overarching SUSTOURISMO initiative by issuing a Sustainable single tourism card by the city’s authorities.

The launch of the card took place earlier last week and gives those who purchase it the opportunity to prepay for specific packages that include a wide range of services – such as visits to museums and archaeological sites. The twist is that they will be carried out in a sustainable manner by, for example, implementing more pedestrian guided tours of these locations.

The other main goal of the card is to observe consumer behaviour. A large team of experts will be observing how potential customers react to this innovative and new approach to tourism and will take their findings to be implemented on a wider pan-EU level. It will also be interesting to find out the impact that it has had on attracting new tourists to Greece and what role it plays in rebooting the country’s tourism industry.



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