ATHENS — Addressing the COVID-19 crisis can be used for a systemic transition to a more sustainable economy that works for the benefit of all, for humanity, but also for the natural environment of our planet, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis said during a World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) webinar.
The conference, held on Tuesday, was entitled "Tourism Futures in the 2030 Agenda: Innovation and Sustainability as the New Normal" and Theoharis had the opportunity to express Greece's positions on critical issues of general interest, which are becoming even more topical on the occasion of the global health crisis.
The tourism minister praised the importance of the collective effort to achieve 17 Goals for Sustainable Development, as set jointly by the United Nations and the UNWTO.
Theoharis stressed that "the vision of the Greek Ministry of Tourism is, firstly, to continue to comply with the Objectives of the UN Agenda for 2030. And, secondly, to proceed with the establishment of the national rating system to monitor the progress of the effort to achieve them."
He pointed out that "the priority areas for investment in national tourism are digital skills, as well as the adoption of sustainable production and consumption models. "We are working intensively to upgrade digital capabilities and skills, while seeking the best possible use of data management. The great challenge of the immediate future clearly concerns the digital and environmental transition."
"Tourism activities should be developed in line with the Europe Green Agreement and the UN Agenda for 2030."
Theoharis presented some of the main axes that the Greek Ministry of Tourism has set, in relation to the transition to a sustainable approach to the economy, as follows:
– Enhance demand, while ensuring the health and safety of both employees and visitors.
– Restoring travelers' trust.
– Support liquidity and employment in tourism and upgrade skills.
– Investing in the green and digital transition.
Finally, the Minister of Tourism spoke about some of the actions that have been included in the national tourism recovery plan, such as, among others:
– The cooperative programme "SYN-ERGASIA".
– The domestic tourism support programme "Tourism For All".
– Tax discounts for private-sector employers who wish to offer travel and tourist holiday vouchers up to 300 euros (voucher).
– The "Plastic-Free" campaign.
– The application "Visit Greece".
– Three new programmes amounting to 40.4 million euros, for the provision of counseling, education and certification of the unemployed in various sectors related to tourism.
– A programme for the "sustainability report", with the creation of Sustainability Observatories.
– The "Destination Greece Health First" campaign for the safe opening of Greek tourism.