Tourism businesses are taking large scale action to support the environment on the island of Rhodes, moving to protect 494 acres of destroyed forest area for the next ten years.
As in other European countries, where individuals adopt a forest, a park or even a tree, 19 large hotel groups will take care of the forest near the Gadoura Dam, about 40 km south of the island's main city, along with social enterprise collective Giatifisi.
In comments to Business Daily, Nektarios Kalogirou, head of Giatifisi said that the plan has been in the making since last year and that it took months of work to finalize how all the sides will work together.
Initially, the environment will benefit, he said, adding that participating companies will also see their competitiveness strengthened, as travelers now demand that hotels adopt green policies.
"Besides, who wants to go on vacation in a deserted area"? asks Kalogirou.
It is the first time in Greece where a large number of emblematic tourism companies have come together to undertake a multi-year commitment to care for natural outdoor areas. The space is adjacent to the Lardos - Laermon road and extends north to the Gadoura dam.
The forest there was burnt in a fire in 2008 and since then has come up with little vegetation. The plan involves the regular clearing of debris that can fuel fires, taking care of the native vegetation and reforesting it.
Each new tree will have a GPS ID tag, will be fenced off for protection from uncontrolled grazing and will be watered regularly to ensure its survival.
All activities in the area will be closely monitored by the Dodecanese Forest Directorate, while the South Aegean Region, the Tourism Directorate of the Municipality of Rhodes, the Environment Directorate of the Municipality of Rhodes and the fire service will are also supporting the initiative.
The participating businesses are:
- Rhodes Hoteliers Association
- H Hotels (Hatzilazarou group)
- Esperia Group (Vasilaki group)
- Rodos Palace & Mediterranean Hotel (Kambouraki group)
- Lindos Hotels (Minettos group)
- Olympic Palace & Porto Angeli Resort (Jack Geronikola group)
- Markopoulos Group of Hotels (Markopoulos group)
- Atrium Hotels (Konstantinidis - Chatzikonstantinou group)
- Aeonian Nisos Sublime Hotels & More (Ioannidis Group)
- Blu Collection (Kalioudaki - Roditi group)
- Harmony Resorts (Katri group)
- Amada Colossos & Park Hotel (Soulounia group)
- Sheraton Rhodes (Sheraton Group)
- Rhodes Bay & Elite Suites by Rhodes Bay (L&R Group)
- Semiramis Hotel (Inza family)
- Cactus Hotel & Aquarium View Hotel (Karagianni Group)
- Association of Tourist Offices
- GEM Travel (Michalaki family)
- Marina Rhodes