The New Eco Appeal of Astypalea and Halki

Greece’s first two "green" destinations are attracting increasing numbers of visitors.

Tourists seem to be responding with heightened enthusiasm to a novel tendency in Greece’s islands – that of developing an environmentally friendly identity.

Primarily, the GR-Eco Island plan aims to make the islands independent of the national grid by providing them with renewable energy sources and aims to transform them into models of green economy, energy autonomy, digital innovation and ecological mobility.

In statements made to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, Mayor of Astypalea, Nikos Komineas, said that this summer, occupancy levels on the island are expected to reach almost 100% during the peak months of July and August. This, following a record 60% occupancy in the months from Greek Orthodox Easter (April) to June. Similar numbers are expected for the late summer/early autumn months, from September 20 and on, he said.

The Astypalea mayor underlined that the sustainability and circular economy initiative (read more about these here) called “Astypalaia: Smart & Sustainable Island” has proven to be a major contributing factor to the significant rise in visits.

He said that electric vehicle rentals for example, are proving to be a more popular choice than conventional vehicles, while the island’s eco-information point is constantly swamped by visitors eager to learn how to participate.

In Halki, a small island off Rhodes and the first to be named a GR-Eco Island in Greece, locals collaborate with municipalities to produce the energy they consume, practically eliminating the cost of the energy. By becoming “prosumers,” or producers/consumers, they take advantage of natural energy sources without any additional expense (read more about this here).

Halki’s Mayor Evangelos Fragakis told AMNA that being part of these green initiatives has certainly proven attractive to a larger and more diverse number of tourists. He also added that the island’s existing attractions, such as the recently restored and re-opened cultural monuments of Roloi and Saretzi as well as the many sailing and mountain hiking options, serve to further boost Halki’s appeal.

With information from

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