On Friday, Greece and Google announced a new partnership for accelerating the green and sustainable transformation of the Greek tourism industry.
The news was announced by Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Google EMEA Business and Operations President Matt Brittin on the sidelines of the Delphi Economic Forum taking place in the ancient Greek site.
The collaboration between the Greek Tourism Ministry and Google includes the creation of a new training program for small and medium-sized tourism enterprises in collaboration with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), which manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism and acts as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certification.
Google’s commitment to “support sustainable development” in Greece
“Our cooperation with the tourism ministry is based on our broader commitment to support sustainable development in Greece. The [green] transition of small and medium-sized enterprises is complicated. This is why we support this effort through our products, initiatives and funding opportunities,” Brittin said.
Google also announced one million dollars 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 and environmentally-friendly growth model is of key priority in dealing with the inevitable consequences of the climate crisis, Kikilias said.
According to a new survey conducted by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasting (ITEP) on behalf of Google and the Hotel Chamber of Greece, three out of four hotel owners consider the implementation of sustainability practices crucial for the future of their business.
Almost 80% expressed interest in obtaining sustainability certification. However, only 41% consider their level of knowledge about sustainability practices to be satisfactory.
Greece to create a tourism academy
Earlier, Deputy Minister of Tourism Sofia Zacharaki speaking at the Delphi Economic Forum vowed to strengthen tourism courses in Greek educational establishments emphasizing their importance beginning in high School.
Zacharaki admitted that the situation in public tourism education needs to be addressed and revealed that Greece has received technical assistance from the European Commission in order to create a tourism academy.