Astypalaia, soon to be home to a massive investment by Volkswagen, could become a “model island” for sustainable tourism and development, the CEO of Deloitte Greece Dimitris Koutsopoulos stated to AMNA on Wednesday.
Deloitte, a consulting and financial advisory firm, recently released a comprehensive study of its “Astypalaia 4.0” project.
The plan is aimed at analyzing possibilities for sustainable tourism and development on the island of Astypalaia, as well as increasing its population.
“Astypalaia 4.0,” the firm’s largest corporate social responsibility project, was conducted on a pro-bono basis in collaboration with the island’s municipality and Axion Hellas, an organization focused on supporting remote island communities in Greece.
In order to gain a full picture of potential development and sustainability strategies, the plan was led by experts in a variety of fields.
Astypalaia development will have “significant impact” on community
Through support from both public and private sources, Deloitte suggested developing the remote island of Astypalaia, located in the Dodecanese island chain, along four fundamental axes.
These include improving and developing the island’s infrastructure, boosting the local economy and fostering entrepreneurship, protecting the environment and encouraging sustainable practices, and modernizing the island through digital investments.
The firm has proposed a detailed model for accomplishing these lofty goals in its plan, including a “set of specialized actions” for each axis of development.
As Koutsopoulos noted, the project will have a “very significant impact on the local community,” along with “multi-level economic benefits” for the entire country.
Additionally, the plan could serve as a model for other regions looking to invest in sustainable infrastructure and development.
According to Koutsopoulos, Deloitte chose the island due to its “significant potential and strong competitive advantages.”
The fact that the island has a tourism sector but had not been subjected to the largely unsustainable mass tourism that many other Greek islands have faced was also appealing to the firm.
They saw an opportunity to develop a new conception of the tourism sector that is both sustainable and independent of the “framework of traditional mass tourism,” Koutsopoulos stated.
Astypalaia to be a green island
It is for similar reasons that German automaker Volkswagen chose the Greek island as the site of a major investment enterprise.
Volkswagen, in cooperation with Greece, announced in November that it will launch an innovative project to bring climate-neutral mobility to the island.
The six-year plan includes a massive replacement of carbon-run vehicles with electric and hybrid cars and trucks, the building of electric charging stations across the island, and the construction of electric trains which will run on clean energy — all produced locally.
Police cars and other public vehicles will be replaced with electric cars as part of Volkswagen’s ambitious plan.
In addition to replacing approximately 1,500 carbon-run cars with 1,000 electric cars and trucks, Volkswagen will also send new e-scooters and electric bikes to the island for the use of its residents.
According to the project, Astypalaia will effectively become a “Green island,” with transportation running almost entirely on clean energy produced locally.
Astypalaia will serve as a small-scale model for VW’s larger plan of reducing carbon emissions and expanding clean-energy globally.
VW’s project in Astypalaia also aligns with the Greek government’s commitment to utilizing renewable energy sources to cover most of its energy needs. The country currently stands as one of Europe’s leaders in terms of green energy production.