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Rhodes Co-Lab: The project to transform Rhodes into a "sustainable tourist destination" was presented by the South Aegean Region and TUI Group

The strategy and implementation plan of the global initiative to transform the island into a sustainable tourist destination was presented tonight in Rhodes.

  • 17/02/2323 20:37
  • 5 min
Rhodes Co-Lab: The project to transform Rhodes into a "sustainable tourist destination" was presented by the South Aegean Region and TUI Group

The strategy and implementation plan of the global initiative to transform the island into a sustainable tourist destination was presented tonight in Rhodes. This is an emblematic initiative that aspires to bring the island into the new era, as the regional governor of South Aegean, Giorgos Chatzimarkos, pointed out in his greeting, pointing out that this is a historic moment and that with its implementation, Rhodes will be the first sustainable destination in people.

The event, organized by the South Aegean Region and the TUI group, took place at the Rodos Palace hotel and was entitled "The Rhodes Co-Lab Sustainable Destination- Strategy & Implementation Plan". In fact, the presentation was also attended by the member of the executive committee of the TUI group and president of the TUI Care Foundation, Thomas Ellerbeck.

It is noted that in the context of the event, approximately 26 actions and projects were presented that make up the content of the strategy of this specific initiative.

The Rhodes Co-Lab Sustainable Destination is a creative collaboration between the TUI Group and the South Aegean Region, bringing together key stakeholders and the local community in one destination, who will co-create solutions that essentially shape and design a Holistic Sustainable Business Model for tourist destinations worldwide.

The TUI Group/TUI Care Foundation and the Administration of the South Aegean Region, in collaboration with the Municipality of Rhodes, started and inaugurated the Rhodes Co-Lab under the umbrella of the Greek Prime Minister and the Greek Government, with the aim of developing Rhodes into an international beacon and model for the holistic sustainable development of holiday destinations. The Co-Lab will work with the local tourism industry, local and national agencies and international partners to develop and implement innovative targeted solutions in Rhodes, through a five-year implementation plan.

The Rhodes Co-Lab project is committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal to make the EU climate neutral by 2050, and is based on the alignment of TUI Group's sustainability strategy and of the South Aegean/Rhodes Strategy.

Together, the partners will actively contribute to the sustainable transformation of Rhodes with concrete actions, based on a holistic approach to the destination value chain. In addition, the partners aim to accelerate sustainable transformation beyond the borders of the island of Rhodes, as the footprint of the initiatives will be further strengthened when best practices are adopted in other destinations worldwide.

Due to the emblematic global project of The Rhodes Co-Lab and the needs for its implementation, it is planned to soon establish an International Center for Sustainable Tourism Development in Rhodes, where the South Aegean Region, the municipality Rhodes, the TUI Group and the TUI Academy, as well as local and international stakeholders, with the main objective:

– Observatory/Project progress monitoring

– Education and training of local groups/local society, entrepreneurship

– Education and training of other tourist destinations in Greece and internationally.

The Center will attract national and international experts from the private sector, academia, administrative authorities/organizations and civil society to enhance global expertise in sustainable tourism transformation. Its operation will continue indefinitely, beyond the 5-year Co-Lab project, in order to have a long-term impact.

The regional governor G. Hatzimarkos

During his greeting, the regional governor of South Aegean, Giorgos Hatzimarkos said that today is a historic moment for the place, also that the Rhodes co lab is a big and ambitious goal and that the experience gained from its implementation will be transferred throughout the rest of the country. And he added: "We, in the Region, set ourselves a very high goal and it was already seen from this project that there is a result and that the project has already started working". He also mentioned that the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, embraced it and has been following it since the first day.

He then announced that, as part of the program, there is an aim to select an area of ​​a thousand crowns in Kalathos, which will be cleared and planted with trees, adopted by TUI and the partners of the program and a training center will be created for children and presenting programs.

Thomas Ellen Veck (TUI)

The member of the executive committee of the TUI group, Thomas Ellen Weck, among others, emphasized that in Rhodes there is a strong will for this program and a support from everyone. "We will all work on it together, and our goal is to face the challenges of the future in terms of environmental challenges," he added.

Addressing the crowd he then said: "You are the experts who will work for this place to achieve the goals of the program."

The Minister of Tourism, V. Kikilias

"The flagship of tourism is Rhodes and we have to make it a more sustainable destination," said the Minister of Tourism, Vassilis Kikilias, adding that all sectors of the workforce can benefit from this. He also underlined that the country's strong economy is tourism and said that this year we will have a 20% increase in tourist traffic as well as an extension of the season.

We will do everything we can to make this program a success, emphasized the Minister of Tourism, pointing out that with its implementation a new path opens and that he himself will be a soldier in this effort.

"I really love the island, Rhodes and its people, and I will always be here when you need me," he said in closing his speech.

The mayor of Rhodes, A. Kambourakis

The mayor of Rhodes, Antonis Kambourakis, in his greeting, among others, said that by implementing this program, we will show love in practice to our children so that they can say that we live in a blessed place.

He also noted that sustainability is not a fashion but a necessity, which is why it is the objective of the municipality and the vision of the municipal authority. Finally, he mentioned that Rhodes is loved by the whole planet, but the hospitality we provide must also become sustainable and in this direction we are moving methodically.

The Minister of State A. Skertsos

The Minister of State, Akis Skertsos, expressed his satisfaction with the program, which he characterized as particularly important, in his online greeting, pointing out that the government will support this effort, because the management of natural resources and the holistic management of resources for environmental protection.

The effort being made for a large tourist island is important, Mr. Skertsos also emphasized.

The Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy, Giorgos Amyras, also expressed his satisfaction with the effort in an online message.

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