One of the fastest growing global trends in travel is sustainable tourism, and this year, close to 6% of trips will be eco-friendly. Further surveys suggest that the majority of tourists would like their excursions to be more sustainable and have a positive environmental impact, but they aren't always able to achieve these goals. In recognising this demand, Limassol has taken steps not only to help tourists enjoy an eco-friendly stay, but also to ensure that their visit is ecologically and socially beneficial to the city and surrounding area. Schemes such as the Green Label Award and Tourism Mobility Card are promoting increased sustainability in local transport. With further encouragement to tourists to support other local businesses, sustainable tourism will help Limassol continue to thrive.
An Initiative to Support Local Businesses
Sustainable tourism is good for local business, and it is a healthy way of achieving economic growth and regeneration in local communities. To support this burgeoning industry, The Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative was set up to support the protection of the environment, the careful use of natural resources and the enhancement of social and economic conditions in rural areas.
One of the best ways for tourists to be environmentally responsible is to eat locally grown produce and buy merchandise made in the region. The increase in custom means that local businesses can reduce their carbon footprint from packaging and transport costs, and previously disadvantaged communities can continue to thrive. When more tourists visit Limassol’s Farmers’ Market, attend the celebrated annual wine festival and support local growers of olives, oranges and carob, the resulting economic growth helps to improve areas for both residents and holidaymakers.
A Scheme for Sustainable Travel
Tourists who want to travel more sustainably give great consideration to finding more eco-friendly ways to reach their desired destination. However, once they have arrived, travelling around a resort can also have a significant environmental impact. To address this issue, Limassol has devised a plan to promote more sustainable means of transport, including cycling, public transport and electric cars. The plan includes the introduction of the Tourist Mobility Card which allows visitors to get around easily during their stay and access points of interest for a discounted fee.
In this way, the tourist experience is enhanced while still maintaining a smaller carbon footprint. To further support environmentally-aware visitors, hotels encourage guests to use sustainable transport, and their efforts are recognized with a Green Label Award. Although maintained by the Limassol Tourism Board, it is hoped that in the long run, the award will be introduced across all regions.
An increasing number of visitors to Cyprus would like to be reassured that their stay meets eco-friendly criteria through making a positive environmental and social impact on the country. With its actions on promoting sustainability and rewarding businesses, Limassol has been quick to recognize the appetite for sustainable tourism and the benefits that it can bring to both local residents and visitors.
By Jennifer Dawson