Crete aims to become sustainable food destination

One area of food sustainability which seems like a no-brainer is integrating local agricultural and food economies with tourism.

Not surprisingly there is much scope for further development. This is illustrated by a new initiative being supported by one of the world’s largest travel companies TUI Group. The TUI Care Foundation, together with Futouris (the sustainability initiative of the German tourism industry), and Crete-based agricultural consultancy The Local Food Experts are collaborating to help establish the island as a sustainable food destination.

The TUI Cares for Crete – Sustainable Food project is bringing together wine producers, vineyards and olive growers with local tourist businesses to develop the Greek island as a place where holidaymakers can experience first-hand ‘authentic’ sustainable food and drink.

With a focus on wine and olive oil, the project includes more than 80 businesses (up from 25 when first announced in March this year) including seven hotels, 47 wine producers, two vineyards and 25 olive-growers and one olive mill. The project and will run from 2017-2019.

An ‘innovative and interactive’ excursion programme will also be developed for holiday-makers to visit production sites and to have direct contacts with wine and olive producers.

Sustainability can help attract tourists to destinations

Thomas Ellerbeck, chairman of the board of trustees of the TUI Care Foundation (which is based in the Netherlands) said: “With the development of the largest Greek island as a showcase for sustainable agriculture and sustainable holidays, we would also like to help make Greece even more attractive as a tourist destination.”

He continued: “The project shows how great the potential of tourism is for local value creation and employment in the holiday country. In order that everyone benefits from this – guests, local businesses and the local population – a close networking of the economy, agriculture and the tourism sector is important. We need to develop a common understanding of what guests value when visiting a holiday destination. And in the tourism industry we need to promote the fact that we are open to local products, influences and experiences”.

The TUI Group, headquartered in Germany, is one of the world’s largest travel companies with revenues of around €18.7 billion (2015) and 77,000 employees operating in 130 countries. Travel and tourism presents many sustainability challenges and opportunities – the sector accounts for around 9% of the world’s GDP (2014) and 1-in-11 jobs globally.