Responsible tourism: Family multi activity vacation in Vassiliki, Greece
From the outset our company has been concerned about impact upon our environment, and have gradually attempted to reduce our carbon footprint, increase recycling and make use of sustainable products.
From introducing, over 7 years ago, energy efficient LED (Light Emitting Diode) and CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lighting) bulbs and sustainable fuels to more energy efficient building practices in our latest refurbishment projects, we have sought to reduce our energy consumption and that of our partners as well as consumption of other natural resources.
We emphasise to our guests the environmental costs, with particularly focussing upon water wastage and chemical pollution. This is particularly relevant to many of our guests as they already understand the damage to our oceans which pollution can cause. We do provide second towels upon request, and use bio-degradable detergents. To keep operating wastage to a minimum, particularly with regard to food and other consumables. We are involved in local re-cycling schemes where practical, and do make use of products from recycled materials.
Over the years our back office systems have focussed upon reducing our reliance upon paper: paper-less booking system and ticket-less flight documentation. Further reduction of company use of paper, chemical and carbon based products has been made by extending the life of our brochures to at least two years.
Since the start of our company we have sought to use local produce, from reputable and sustainable suppliers. This helps reduce the carbon footprint by lessening the environmental cost of transport and also benefits the local economy, and thus the surrounding community.
Our popular excursions include to local farms, mountain villages, museums, artisans and markets. Our guided bike rides can take in stops at tavernas, cafès and restaurants in surrounding Greek villages. We find that our guests benefit from this close-up exposure to local culture, with a greater understanding of local life which they may not encounter if they stayed on the beach or at the Beach Club. Our guided walks are a particular popular and successful way of understanding how the local population interact with their environment, as well as exposing guests to many of the hidden secrets of the locale's flora and fauna – both above and below sea!
We work closely with local activity operators, ferries, bars, restaurants and wholesalers and other suppliers as well as the wider community, and have supported a number of local events and charities (i.e. Sail 4 Cancer). As activity operators employ local staff, as well as reacting to local environmental needs there is a synergistic relationship rather than a distant one. Special promotions with local cultural sites, bars and restaurants encourages guests to interact with, and thus better understand, the local community - as well as providing extra income for the local economy!