The Municipality of Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands has joined as a Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

The Municipality of Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands is a municipality of the Region of the Ionian Islands and was established in 2019. This includes the central (metropolitan) municipality of Corfu and three Diapontian Islands (a complex of islands to the northwest), along with the other two other new municipalities of North and South Corfu, and Paxos island south of Corfu.

UNESCO World Heritage Site – Old Town of Corfu

Corfu’s cultural heritage reflects years spent under Venetian, French and British rule before it was united with Greece in 1864. The beautifully preserved Old Town of Corfu has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site where Renaissance, Baroque and Classical “repertoire” came to be successfully applied to local artistic traditions.

GSTC Destination Assessment of Corfu

In December 2020, city leaders in Corfu teamed up with GSTC and CLIA to assess their sustainability status and to map out a plan for a future of sustainable tourism. The destination assessments of Corfu, co-funded with CLIA and conducted by the GSTC, aims to provide benchmark data, and find ways for balanced development of tourism in their localities. The assessment process began in December 2020 and involves three phases across a period of five months – an initial preparatory phase of research and data compilation, a second phase of on-site assessment with stakeholder engagement, and a final phase of analysis and report.

“We are sure that the Municipality of Corfu and Diapontian, CLIA, GSTC and Corfu Port will set up a strong cooperation ensuring the best for the destination and the society. Hopefully, this will be the start for a sustainable future for our destination!” said Mayor of Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands, Meropi Spyridoula Ydraiou.

The GSTC Destination Assessment focuses on four main categories of destination sustainability: destination management and governance; economic benefits to local communities; protection of cultural heritage, community, and visitor well-being; environmental protection and conservation.

Sustainable Tourism Plans of Corfu

As part of the participation of the Municipality of Central Corfu and the Diapontian Islands in the program “100 Intelligent Cities Challenge” of the European Commission (100 Intelligent Cities Challenge – ICC), the municipality participates under the prior City Goal “Waste Management and Circular Economy” and secondarily of the participation in the program “Green and Smart Mobility” and the general effort of the municipality to effectively reduce its total carbon footprint and to help substantially and practically in the protection of the environment.

Mayor Ydraiou noticed that Corfu is one of the top tourist destinations not only in Greece but all over Europe because it combines a unique natural and cultural environment. “With the fact that the majority of generated income is from tourism, the Municipality is encouraging and supporting the cooperation with GSTC in an effort to ensure the sustainability of tourism development to the destination on a long term basis. Such a perspective will ensure a better living environment and quality in services both to the locals as well as to the visitors and tourists. This can not be achieved shortly, however, our municipality decided to invest in proper tourism planning and balanced growth for the next generations.”

GSTC Welcomes Corfu

“GSTC applauds Corfu’s tourism managers for taking seriously the imperative for continuous improvement in managing their destinations more sustainably. Applying the GSTC Criteria is to take a holistic and systematic approach to sustainable development and management,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

“With the great example of Corfu for Destination Assessment in Greece, a really first in its kind collaboration scheme between municipality and port authority was initiated for the sake of a more sustainable future of tourism in destinations where the cruises are a strong part of the total tourism product. GSTC is supporting this transition to a more sustainable interaction, producing tangible conclusions for next years’ tourism roadmap, that will be incorporated with the Municipality’s new Strategy for Development,” says Dr. Ioannis Pappas, GSTC Director for the Mediterranean.

GSTC encourages NTOs and DMOs (destinations) pursuing sustainability practices in development and management of tourism, to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria, as well as support local business to apply the GSTC Industry Criteria. Destinations can eventually aim for achieving certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body as a sustainable tourist destination.