The Ministry of Tourism and Google partner to support Greece’ sustainable growth

  • A new training program to help tourism businesses accelerate their sustainability transformation
    and communicate their environmental-friendly actions, in collaboration with Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
  • As part of its European Social Innovation Fund, is committing $1 million in funding to support organisations assisting social entrepreneurs working on environmental sustainability causes and eco-tourism in Greece.

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Google’s Matt Brittin announced the new partnership.

08 April 2022 – A new partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and Google was announced today at the Delphi Economic Forum with the aim to speed up the green and sustainable transformation of the Greek tourism sector. The partnership includes a new training program for tourism SMEs in collaboration with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). In addition to this, Google announced $1 million funding from to support organisations assisting social entrepreneurs working on environmental sustainability causes and eco-tourism in Greece.

“Our strategy for turning the country into a sustainable tourism model, in addition to government actions to achieve the goals of sustainability, goes through similar partnerships as the one we are announcing today with Google. Through the educational program, tourism professionals also share this effort, while the commitment to strengthen institutions and social enterprises that deal with sustainability mobilizes wider groups in a joint effort for the future of Greek tourism, » said Mr. Vassilis Kikilias, the Minister of Tourism.

“Sustainable tourism has never been more important today – for both travelers and the planet. This transition, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, is complicated, which is why we support it in practice through our products, initiatives and the funding we offer. Our cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism is based on our broader commitment to support sustainable development in Greece, » stated Matt Brittin, Google’s President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Training Program for SMEs

The partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and Google will kick off with a new training program, in collaboration with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The training, which will be free of cost for attendees, will start in April and aims to support small and medium-sized tourism businesses in their journey towards sustainability. The program, which is a new pillar of the Google initiative « Grow Greece with Google”, is built upon some key components, including helping businesses to effectively communicate their environmentally friendly actions, create a strategy for sustainability, obtain and promote an eco-certification, learn about funding opportunities for tourism SMEs, as well as learn some of the best practices for energy, water and waste management.

“In order for tourism businesses to operate in terms of sustainability, their staff must be aware of what this means and be committed to continuously expanding and improving their knowledge. In this regard, the GSTC is particularly pleased to support Google’s efforts to offer such opportunities to the tourism industry,  » said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for Accreditation of Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; GSTC provides an accreditation program through its partner Assurance Services International to accredit Certification Bodies. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGO’s, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

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