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A European model for alternative tourism

In an endeavor to enrich the composition of Europe's tourist product, including new forms of alternative tourism<.>, European destinations must not be mislead to naive conclusions and abandon main products such as sun, sea and culture, which are and will be vital for the foreseeable future.
This point was make by former Greek minister for tourism, Nikos Skoulas, during a speech at the trans-national conference of five European countries (Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Germany) held at Aghios Minas, Chalkis, last month. The conference was organized within the framework of the European Adapt II Project "PENTA".
Representatives for the regions of Tuscany, Italy, and Galicia, Spain, the Prefecture of Larissa, the German organization Fresenious and the French Environmental University presented examples of practical alternative tourism implementation systems.

Some of the main conclusions of the conference:

Prior to any country embarking on the creation of Alternative Tourism programs, it is essential to first identity and take stock of the particular positive characteristics it has and to utilize them to create a specific identity, instead of trying to be "all things for all people".
The exploitation of digital technology offers exceptional opportunities for projecting alternative tourism products to an extensive audience worldwide with direct contact with the client.
A fundamental requirement for the development and survival of alternative tourism is the protection and elevation of environmental and cultural riches which constitute the basic ingredients for specialized forms of tourism.
Alternative tourism products must be offered in the form of complete programs in order to offer the guest a total experience, these products must be constantly improved qualitatively.

The Spanish representative, Francesco Celada, from the area of Galicia – an area totally different from the Mediterranean region of Spain – presented an alternative tourism model based mainly on eco-tourism, rural tourism and physically active tourism supported by Galicia's tourism development policy.
The Italian speakers, Fransesco Pira and Giovani Romiti, both from the region of Tuscany, presented the method they are using for the elevation of the area of Padule di Fuceccio and the wetlands of Sibolla Lake as a unique eco-tourism destination in Italy, with the end purpose being the elevation of tourism to the area, especially following the crisis in spa tourism in the area of Montecatini Terme.
The German representative, Jurgen Paeger, from the company Fresenius stressed the important role that the implementation of hotel total quality systems plays in the development of alternative methods of tourism. He analyzed a quality system, that emphasizes hygiene, which can be adapted to all departments of a hotel.
The French speaker, Dominique Sellier, from the French Environmental University, presented two case studies of positive progress made by small tourist enterprises following the implementation of environmental management systems. He suggested the implementation of a "Green Flag" program for inland regions that would correspond with the Blue Flag program awarded to clean coastlines.
On the Greek side Mr. Skoulas stressed that the Greek tourism product is provided under fully competitive conditions. But it requires a step-by-step but brief transition from mass leisure tourism to activity-oriented tourism within an enriched quality offer that satisfies an assortment of interests, 12 months a year. In order to accomplish the goal of activity-oriented tourism, the requirements mentioned included:
– High quality hotels (Five and Four Stars)
– Supplementary tourism infrastructure (golf courses, conference centers, marinas, etc.)
– General infrastructure (airports, ports, highways, metro, etc.) and the preservation and development of the environment and cultural heritage. Most especially, the success of alternative forms of tourism depends to a great extent on the support of trained professionals and managers.
In closing the conference, Menelaos Ioannidis, general manager of InforMatiC SA, administrators for Penta, remarked that the development of alternative forms of tourism in Europe in the next few years will contribute to the extension of the tourist period, thereby creating new employment positions and securing existing employment….

In an endeavor to enrich the composition of Europe's tourist product, including new forms of alternative tourism<.>, European destinations must not be mislead to naive conclusions and abandon main products such as sun, sea and culture, which are and will be vital for the foreseeable future.

This point was make by former Greek minister for tourism, Nikos Skoulas, during a speech at the trans-national conference of five European countries (Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Germany) held at Aghios Minas, Chalkis, last month. The conference was organized within the framework of the European Adapt II Project "PENTA".

Representatives for the regions of Tuscany, Italy, and Galicia, Spain, the Prefecture of Larissa, the German organization Fresenious and the French Environmental University presented examples of practical alternative tourism implementation systems.



Some of the main conclusions of the conference:



Prior to any country embarking on the creation of Alternative Tourism programs, it is essential to first identity and take stock of the particular positive characteristics it has and to utilize them to create a specific identity, instead of trying to be "all things for all people".

The exploitation of digital technology offers exceptional opportunities for projecting alternative tourism products to an extensive audience worldwide with direct contact with the client.

A fundamental requirement for the development and survival of alternative tourism is the protection and elevation of environmental and cultural riches which constitute the basic ingredients for specialized forms of tourism.

Alternative tourism products must be offered in the form of complete programs in order to offer the guest a total experience, these products must be constantly improved qualitatively.



The Spanish representative, Francesco Celada, from the area of Galicia – an area totally different from the Mediterranean region of Spain – presented an alternative tourism model based mainly on eco-tourism, rural tourism and physically active tourism supported by Galicia's tourism development policy.

The Italian speakers, Fransesco Pira and Giovani Romiti, both from the region of Tuscany, presented the method they are using for the elevation of the area of Padule di Fuceccio and the wetlands of Sibolla Lake as a unique eco-tourism destination in Italy, with the end purpose being the elevation of tourism to the area, especially following the crisis in spa tourism in the area of Montecatini Terme.

The German representative, Jurgen Paeger, from the company Fresenius stressed the important role that the implementation of hotel total quality systems plays in the development of alternative methods of tourism. He analyzed a quality system, that emphasizes hygiene, which can be adapted to all departments of a hotel.

The French speaker, Dominique Sellier, from the French Environmental University, presented two case studies of positive progress made by small tourist enterprises following the implementation of environmental management systems. He suggested the implementation of a "Green Flag" program for inland regions that would correspond with the Blue Flag program awarded to clean coastlines.

On the Greek side Mr. Skoulas stressed that the Greek tourism product is provided under fully competitive conditions. But it requires a step-by-step but brief transition from mass leisure tourism to activity-oriented tourism within an enriched quality offer that satisfies an assortment of interests, 12 months a year. In order to accomplish the goal of activity-oriented tourism, the requirements mentioned included:

– High quality hotels (Five and Four Stars)

– Supplementary tourism infrastructure (golf courses, conference centers, marinas, etc.)

– General infrastructure (airports, ports, highways, metro, etc.) and the preservation and development of the environment and cultural heritage. Most especially, the success of alternative forms of tourism depends to a great extent on the support of trained professionals and managers.

In closing the conference, Menelaos Ioannidis, general manager of InforMatiC SA, administrators for Penta, remarked that the development of alternative forms of tourism in Europe in the next few years will contribute to the extension of the tourist period, thereby creating new employment positions and securing existing employment.

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