Tourism is a rapidly growing industry which makes a great economic and environmental impact all over the world. Over the years, tourism has grown exponentially and it’s closely linked to the production of economic and employment benefits in a wide variety of sectors, from agriculture to telecommunications, across the globe. This global expansion of tourism means that while an increase in visitors to a region is great news for the local and national economy of a country, it can also cause harm to the environment or the local features of a region. This might be down to the fact that the more holidaymakers there are that visit a destination, the more that site will be met with unsustainable practices, such as the demolition of forest space to build more hotels. And in places like Crete, where historic locations are such an important part of the island, tourism can even contribute to the damage of ancient monuments. While accidental, this can have a big negative impact on the area.
Tourism Doesn’t Need to Cause Damage It doesn’t have to be this way, however. Tourism is on the rise, but so is ecotourism; a growing trend that focuses on raising awareness to this issue. Ecotourism is part of the tourism industry, but it’s more specific in the way that it intends to contribute positively to the environmental, social, cultural and economic health of the local communities. This is achieved by offering solutions that work long-term and encourage the preservation of the cultural diversity, as well as the heritage and natural beauty of any location. The ultimate goal is to allow future generations to experience locations fairly untouched by humans, promoting travel to places where fauna, flora and cultural heritage are the primary focus. Ecotourism intends to provide tourists with an insight into the impact that we can all have on the environment, while minimising the negative features of conventional tourism. Recycling, energy efficiency and water conservation are, therefore, strong points that ecotourism promotes.
Ecotourism in Crete Crete is rich in luxurious landscapes and stunning old buildings, such as the ancient palace of Knossos, which are some of the main attractions of the island. With the island being such a popular destination for many holidaymakers, it becomes essential to shield it from the negative impact of tourism. Assuring that endangered or native species are protected, and that the natural beauty of the island is not disturbed is, therefore, vital. Ecotourism can lessen and even prevent the negative environmental impact that visitors can have on Crete, while improving the social, cultural and economic well-being of the island. Raising awareness of unspoiled locations such as this helps towards the conservation of nature and history.
What Measures Can Be Taken? Crete is home to some of the most beautiful and captivating sites on the planet, and is known for its connection to the legend of King Minos and Daedalus, as well as being linked to the birthplace of Zeus. To protect the magnificent caves, gorges, white sand beaches and crystal clear water, as well as the local culture, some facts need to be taken into consideration. Attracting more visitors to the island is vital, since that will lead to a stronger economy, but so is ensuring that tourists are conscientious and their actions have a low impact on the region. This can be done mainly by promoting more sensitivity towards the local cultures and the biodiversity, as well as making sure that visitors can contribute to local conservation efforts. Another great way to invest in ecotourism is by providing traditional villas in Crete, as they respect the aesthetic of the region, create more jobs, and reduce the need to build new hotels. The key element in this is education, as it can serve to help both the local communities and tourists alike. This is because providing new job opportunities can empower these communities and aid them in the fight against poverty – as well as helping them develop in a sustainable way.
Pure Crete is a large independent provider of holiday villas in Crete, offering authentic accommodation at great prices since 1988.