The Greek Green political party had a very successful working meeting with the Association of Tourism Enterprises (Greek: Σύνδεσμος Ελληνικών Τουριστικών Επιχειρήσεων), commonly abbreviated to SETE (ΣΕΤ Ε), this within the framework of their meetings with the social partners, in particular to discuss the challenges that had to be achieved during this year which proved to be pivotal for Greek tourism, both due to natural and climatic disasters which had a lasting impact on the country in recent years.
The Ecologist Greens were represented at this meeting by the co-president of the green ecologists, Ms. Katerina Andrikopoulou Sakorafa, while on the side of the SETE , we noted the presence of Mr. Alexandros Thanos, Mandated Consultant and Ms. Maria Gatsu, Managing Director.
“I am particularly happy because we have noticed that the Association of Tourism Enterprises (SETE) also addresses tourism issues in a comprehensive way, as we do both for tourism and for each sector of our multi-thematic agenda,” said from the start Mrs Andrikopoulou Sakorafa.
During their discussion, both sides recognized that sustainability is also of utmost importance in tourism. They consider that the recent law on sustainable tourism does not in any way cover the requirements imposed by the conditions and needs as they have developed in recent years.
Ms. Katerina Andrikopoulou Sakorafa in her intervention underlined that “the report of the Mediator of Tourism and the Environment highlights something that we have also highlighted several times in the GREEN Ecologists, namely that although protected areas are a pole of attraction for the development of tourism, the country and the current legislative framework not only do not show a corresponding respect for their protection, as evidenced by the fact that we have been condemned by the European Court because we have not adopted the necessary measures to protect the species and habitats of the Natura 2000 network.
She continued her speech by showing that “The fact that education is the starting point for the solution of all modern problems is a fixed position of green ecologists. We are particularly happy that the SETE devotes all its strengths and all its tools to the promotion of good tourism education, but we note that there is a large deficit on the part of the State both in terms of infrastructure and tourism. Initial training as well as in the context of continuing training, but also what it has to offer to small and medium-sized businesses,” said Ms. Andrikopoulou Sakorafa.
The participants in this meeting agreed that the development of tourism is inextricably linked to the development of public infrastructure and their proper functioning. They noted the typical example of the island of Paros, where the completion of the new airport could still bring more visitors to the island, while currently the road network cannot support such an increase. “Santorini receives a lot of tourists but its hospital is still understaffed. Many tourist areas have serious drainage and sewage problems. In this context, it was highlighted that the increase in accommodation tax (fee for in the face of the climate crisis), it cannot continue to be a tax collection measure, but must have a retributive character, with revenues being returned to investments and public infrastructure that supports not only tourism, but also the functioning local companies”, they insisted.
At the end of the discussion, which took place in a particularly good atmosphere, both parties agreed to maintain open communication channels to defend the creation of a holistic, modern, sustainable and dynamic tourism model throughout the year and this throughout the Greek territory.