This article is part of the “Sustainable tourism insights” interview series with speakers and participants of the Green Destinations Conference in Athens, Greece held in September 2022.
Dr. Ioannis Pappas is the Director of the Mediterranean Region at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Anula Galewska, Travindy’s Managing Director, asked Dr. Pappas about how COVID-19 and the current political crisis has impacted tourism, and the willingness of businesses and destinations to be more sustainable.
According to Dr. Ioannis Pappas, after a period when travel was limited, people now are more ready to travel than pre-pandemic. Countries like Spain, Greece, Italy and Turkey experience a significant increase of visitors compared to July and August of 2019. Unfortunately, it also leads to overtourism and a huge pressure on the whole tourism infrastructure.
Since the beginning of 2022, a lot of companies have demonstrated their desire to be more sustainable, support the local communities etc. At the end of the year we have a good opportunity to evaluate these statements. GSTC at least experiences big interest from both private and public organisations. GSTC’s ecosystem grows, which means more companies joining the sustainable tourism network ecosystem and more opportunities to improve the industry. GSTC also cooperates with countries and regions to support their capacity and create national systems, like those in Turkey and Singapore.
Dr. Pappas has highlighted that GSTC does not certify the companies nor conduct any auditing activities. What it does is to enforce the need of accredited certification bodies, which are bodies that have not only a standard of work, but also have methodologies, trained auditors, a a proper internal system of management to ensure the highest quality.