The Tourism Ministry and Google announced a new partnership on Friday for accelerating the sustainable transformation of the Greek tourism industry, in the context of the Delphi Economic Forum. It includes a new training program for small and medium-sized tourism enterprises, in collaboration with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
The program begins this month and will be free of charge. Its goal is to support tourism’s SMEs on their course to sustainable growth.
The main features of the program that constitutes the new pillar of Google’s initiative, “Grow Greece with Google,” are the efficient communication by enterprises of their environmental action, the drafting of a sustainability strategy, the securing of sustainability certification, the exploration of funding sources for SMEs in the sector, and the adoption of optimum practices for saving energy and water and for the rational management of wastewater.
“Sustainable tourism has never been as important as it is today – both for travelers and for the planet. This transition, especially for SMEs, is complicated, therefore we actively support it through our products, initiatives and financing that we supply,” stated Google’s Chairman for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Matt Brittin: “Our cooperation with the Tourism Ministry relies on our broader pledge to support sustainable development in Greece.”
Minister Vassilis Kikilias added that “this program will have tourism professionals join the effort toward meeting sustainability targets.”
Google also announced $1 million in funding from Google.org to support organizations that help social enterprises in Greece, with an emphasis on sustainability and ecotourism. The transition of the Greek tourism industry to a more sustainable growth model is a key priority in dealing with the inevitable consequences of the climate crisis.
According to a new survey conducted by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasting (ITEP) on behalf of Google and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, three in four hotel owners consider the implementation of sustainability practices crucial for their business, with 79% expressing interest in obtaining sustainability certification. However, only 41% say they have satisfactory knowledge of sustainability.