The Plastic-FreeSantorini campaign and the VisitGreece application at the center of the event in Santorini

The beginning of the tourist season and the participation of Santorini in the alternative tourism campaign “Plastic-FreeSantorini”, announced by the Ministry of Tourism, were the focus of the speech of the mayor of Thira, Antonis Sigalas, during a press conference held in of the event for the opening of Greek tourism.

     “Yesterday and today Santorini is at the center of very important events with high symbolism but also special value for the future of our place. Yesterday, from Santorini, the prime minister of the country sent to the whole planet the signal of the beginning of the Greek tourist summer. He invited the travelers of the world to travel fearlessly to the hospitable, beautiful and health-safe Greece “, said, among others, Mr. Sigalas and added that our country opens its gates to visitors and Santorini is waiting for its numerous friends.

     The mayor of Thira made it clear that the tourist season begins with a plan, with rules, with safety. “Nothing is left to chance. The arrival, the movement, the accommodation but also the handling of every emergency event for the guests have been arranged to the last detail. “Our country, in addition to beauty, emits reliability and security”, he noted. At the same time, he spoke about the cooperation of the state, self-government, scientific community and social partners, who – for the first time in several years – work together harmoniously with mutual understanding and maturity, showing responsibility and true patriotism.

     “Santorini, with its incomparable natural beauty, invaluable cultural wealth and generous hospitality, is an excellent ambassador of Greek tourism. The Prime Minister chose our island as an island – a pilot for the implementation of a plan for holistic sustainability of tourism management. The Minister of Tourism, Mr. Haris Theocharis, was from the first moment an enthusiastic instigator of this ambitious project. Together we worked out, agreed and started the implementation of the action plan for Santorini. “Our valuable collaborator in this effort is the governor of the South Aegean, Mr. Hatzimarkos”, stressed the mayor of Thira, adding that the main axis of this strategic plan is the sustainable management of environmental resources.

     According to Mr. Sigalas, the island in the field of sustainable management of environmental resources shows “an unjustified lag”. “However, today, we are ready to cure the carelessness and timidity of the past, as the Ministry of Environment is already undertaking the elaboration -in a year- of the special environmental plan for Santorini”, he pointed out. As he announced, the Municipality of Thira is accelerating the construction and operation of an integrated waste management system. The project will be completed within the next three years and will be implemented through the PPP process. “The Minister of Environment and Energy, Mr. Hatzidakis, pledged for the interim solution of the problem as well as for the financing of an extensive recycling program in Santorini”, underlined the mayor of Thira.

     Regarding the Plastic-Free Santorini action, an initiative announced by the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Sigalas noted that the goal is to reduce the negative environmental footprint of tourism from the widespread use of plastic. “It would be commonplace to refer to the long-term harmful effects that the use of plastic has on our environment and health. Unfortunately, our country, despite the efforts of recent years, still has many negative firsts in this area. The phenomenon may be global, but if every country, every place and finally every citizen does not take their responsibilities, the future is bleak. Where plastic is most visible and most threatening is the seabed. It has been estimated that in the peak tourist months the coastal pollution increases by 117% and 87% is plastic. It is predicted that in 2050 there will be more plastics in the sea than fish “, he argued, emphasizing that these data lead to the conclusion that plastic is deadly. Also, as he said, the Municipality of Thira signed an agreement to gradually reduce the use of plastic until their final disappearance, a project which – according to Mr. Sigalas – is difficult and requires awareness of the problem and consensus to resolve it.

     “We have to resist our habits and finally change them, not by force but as a free and beneficial choice. We must cultivate environmental awareness, understand the points of the environment for tourism and upgrade the culture of our daily lives. In this direction we will work with voluntary environmental organizations, with the educational community, cultural and sports organizations. “Santorini, with the effort of all, will make the leap into the future, into a future without plastic”, concluded the mayor of Thira.

     In the “Plastic-FreeSantorini” campaign, LidlHellas invests 700,000 euros for its needs. “Today, starting in Santorini, we want to unfold an original, alternative tourism campaign, which is -at the same time- a global message of sustainable development for the island itself, the Cyclades, Greece, the world. About how we can live with modern technology, in the natural environment. Always in moderation. To enjoy the products of the present, while ensuring their adequacy for the future “, pointed out during the press conference the President of Management of Lidl Hellas, Iakovos Andreanidis. He also expressed his special joy that he is today “in the bright land of Santorini, a place rich in tradition. With unique, authentic -I would say- beauty. With original architecture and history that is lost in the depths of time “.

     As Mr. Andreanidis stated, the message of sustainable development for Santorini, for all of Greece, stems from the concept of sustainable tourism.

     Regarding the campaign, he noted that in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and the Municipality of Thira they took an important life initiative, to declare Santorini, “an island with special environmental sensitivities, but also timeless symbolism, as the First Island in the Cyclades, in the Aegean. Free From Plastic. Their intention, according to the CEO of Lidl Hellas, is to reduce the reckless use of plastic, the use of disposable plastic items, as well as to promote recycling. “Furthermore, the goal is to learn to think in terms of a circular economy but also to protect our coasts and seas. We stand by the initiatives of the Greek government, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Environment, the mayor of Santorini. Next to every Greek woman and every Greek man. Much more in difficult times. But also in those that strengthen the perspective of the place “, concluded Mr. Andreanidis.

     The contribution that Mastercard will have in the Visit Greece application, one of the initiatives announced by the Ministry of Tourism, was mentioned by the country manager of Mastercard for Greece, Cyprus and Malta, Aspa Palimeri. “Tourism and especially its restart is a national issue for all of us. We are here to offer our know-how, but also all the means at our disposal, so that through collaborations and partnerships we create all the conditions, both for a successful restart and to create in the future a competitive and sustainable tourism product for the country. us”, Ms. Palimeri underlined to add: “The contribution to the creation of the Visit Greece application gives us the opportunity to introduce Greece to the global public through the Mastercard platform, Priceless Cities, giving them the opportunity to get to know it through unique experiences. invaluable and valuable “.

     The director of Retail Banking of Eurobank SA, Iakovos Giannaklis, also spoke about Visit Greece, emphasizing that “Eurobank, as the bank of Greek Tourism, dynamically and globally supports one of the most dynamic sectors of the Greek economy, tourism, for to meet the unprecedented challenges of this year but also to lay the foundations for a dynamic recovery from 2021 “. “In this context, we also support, as exclusive sponsors together with Mastercard, the new initiative of EOT for the better promotion of the Greek tourist product, through a new mobile application in Visit Greece. We will be in every way next to Greek tourism, with our top business priority being the support of healthy, Greek entrepreneurship “, concluded Mr. Giannaklis.

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