A new tourism model is being implemented with priority on the environment and the local community
In the context of the international reflection on the effects of the travel industry and climate changes, a rewarding model was created in Alonissos for the first time, according to which tourism will contribute directly to the protection of the environment and the strengthening of specific sensitive groups of the local society.
According to the new model, from ticket revenuewhose implementation was decided by the Ministry of the Environment and concerns the stay in Marine Park (Zone A)will be created additional and direct multiplier benefits for the local community and the natural environment through predetermined uses and procedures. Residents of the island and local fishermen with their boats are excluded from the ticket, except for excursion-tourists.
Recently, the Natural Environment and Climate Change Organization (O.FY.PE.K.A.), which is the management body of the Marine Park, accepted the proposal of the mayor of Alonissos Petros Vafinis for the signing of a cooperation pact between the Organization, the municipality and of the Fishing Association of Alonissos with a five-year term and the possibility of extension. According to the pact, 25% of revenue of the tickets will “go back” to a vulnerable group of local professionals, to the fishermen of Alonissos, through the purchase and delivery of fishing equipment to the local club. Furthermore, 25% of revenue will “come back” to the municipality for environmental actions and the remaining amount of revenue will be allocated for actions within the Marine Park.
“In this way, tourists visiting the park by private or chartered boats or through sea excursions have the opportunity to experience a sustainable paradise and at the same time contribute for the first time with a symbolic amount to strengthen the local community and cleanliness and the protection of the Marine Park which is the largest protected marine area in Europe and the “home” for one of the most important ecosystems on the planet, such as the Munich seal”, said the mayor of Alonissos.
It is noted that the tendency of millions of travelers to be able to participate more actively and offer substantial good to the destinations they visit is a travel behavior that is constantly gaining new “territory” worldwide and is part of transformative tourism. It is worth mentioning that the ticket did not negatively affect tourism in the park. According to the data of the Management Body so far, the boats that visited the Marine Park by 2023 have increased by an impressive 130% compared to last year. Also, the Municipal Port Fund of Alonissos notes for this year an increase in the approaches of boats to Patitiri, the port of the island. “Our priority is Alonissos and the Marine Park, especially at a time when the anxiety to protect our natural “treasures” is now national and global. Already the benefits from the ticket revenue have a positive impact on our island”, added Mr. Vafinis.
Specifically, at the proposal of the mayor, the O.FY.PE.K.A. from the receipt of the ticket already financed the Alonissos Port Station for the year 2023-2024 with the amount of 22,500 euros for its contribution to the protection of the Park. The cleaning of all the beaches on the islands of the Park was also financed with the amount of 15,000 euros, a practice that will be done every year. Additionally, 30% of the ticket is transferred to the Green Fund, which finances municipalities for environmental actions. The Municipality of Alonissos has used this financing from time to time for the construction of playgrounds, underground bins, Sustainable Urban Mobility plan, Electric Vehicle Charging plans, European LIFE program and other actions.
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