Germany-based TUI Group and its TUI Care Foundation are collaborating with the government of Greece to launch an innovation “lab” to test and share ideas to make tourism more sustainable.
The effort will be based on the Greek island of Rhodes, which organizers say offers an ideal setting to test innovations since “all the components that make up a holiday are in one place. Hotels, airports, cruises, transfers and mobility, excursions: the complexity of the challenges is visible on Rhodes.”
Known as the Rhodes Co-Lab, the effort will include the development and testing of solutions on the island that could then be shared more broadly, as well as the creation of a think tank to bring together international experts.
“Tourism brings many positive impacts – it is a force for good. Without tourism, destinations lack investment and direct spending by travellers. Without tourism, there is hardly any basis for economic prosperity in most destinations. As the largest economic sector in destinations, it also contributes to more social participation. The Co-Lab can serve as a laboratory for sustainable tourism of the future and strengthen and further develop these impacts,” says Fritz Joussen, CEO of TUI Group.
“We invite everyone in the tourism industry to join forces and contribute ideas and innovations to the Rhodes Co-Lab. In this decade of sustainable transformation, the Co-Lab will show how a holistic approach to greater sustainability can work - for the people who live in destinations, for travellers, for the environment and for the tourism industry.”
Over the next five years, the effort will focus on solutions to conserve resources and protect the environment, promote the participation of local residents through job creation, education and cultural activities and test new concepts for mobility and energy, water and waste management.
The Rhodes Co-Lab will be managed by a team of sustainability experts working with the Rhodes island administration, the Government of the South Aegean, TUI Group’s global sustainability team and TUI Care Foundation’s program manager.
"I think Greece is a country that is clearly turning a page. It's leaving behind a decade of crises, of pain. And I think it's a country that is really looking to embrace the challenges of the future. It is important to point out that in the United Nations sustainability goals, we do not just talk about environmental ecological sustainability, but also about social and economic sustainability. And we will work very hard to make this project a success,” says Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece.