last update: 6/12/2016

INTRODUCTION

Environment friendly tourism: tourism of the “future”

East coastal zone of Thessaloniki area in Greece, including Aggelochori and Epanomi lagoons, are considered for tourism activities. During summer, sandy clear beaches are the favourite destination for a large number of visitors from the local and the wider area of Thessaloniki.

Most activities relate to the sea. Many people come here to swim, try marine sports, fish, and enjoy the landscape and the view to the sea or a nice seafood and local produced wine. Several of them wonder around coastal zone for recreational, sports or/and educational aim, enjoying a tour by feet or bicycle. Groups of pupils come to learn the way salt is produced in the saltpans or to watch the birds flying. Finally, cultural events organized during summer attract visitors to meet the tradition of the local community.

Nevertheless, the existing tourism activities put the natural ecosystems of the coastal zone into pressure. Uncontrolled vehicle traffic into the protected areas, unauthorized garbage disposal, plant destruction (by cutting or tramping on them), harassing of birds are some of the problems that appear because of the lack of information and of encouragement of people’s environmental attitude as well as the lack of implementation of good practices concerning tourist movement.

This kind of tourism that exhausts the natural resources can not support and promote a sustainable development. Tourist practices should enhance the conservation of the natural capital of the area and at the same time should support the local community as a basic economical source for the population.

According to all these, one of the main objectives of the awareness actions of “Accolagoon” project is the promotion of environment friendly tourism activities (ecotourism, agrotourism) in the protected areas of interest. It is generally accepted that visitors seek to experience practically not theoretically the natural environment.

The support and active participation of all the stakeholders and users at the area (citizens, visitors, agents, enterprises, public bodies etc.) is necessary in order to achieve this effort. All the people should understand that a protected area is not a prohibited for the human being area. It is a natural environment that needs humans to protect it in order to continue to offer its multiple gifts in the future.

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