TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen met virtually with the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, this morning. The topic was the role of tourism for Greece and in particular The Rhodes Co-Lab. Under the patronage of the Greek Prime Minister, TUI Group, TUI Care Foundation and the South Aegean Region, a laboratory for sustainable tourism of the future will be set up on Rhodes. Details will be presented to the public tomorrow.
Following the meeting, which was also attended by the Governor of the South Aegean Region, George Chatzimarkos, the Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the TUI Care Foundation, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece, said: “One of our key priorities in our long-term tourism strategy is to extend the season. And we do think that many of our destinations, including Rhodes, have the capacity to also attract visitors outside the summer months. There's a broader narrative that goes beyond tourism, 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.
You know how much we value our relationship as a country with TUI. I was looking at the numbers. Almost a million and a half visitors you brought to Greece, out of which I understand 600,000 came to Rhodes. So, we always like to work with global leaders in all sectors that have an interest in investing in Greece or bringing business to Greece. And I want you to be certain that we can have that level of communication, not just at the level of the ministry, but also the level of my office. And we will work very hard to make this project a success.”
Fritz Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, said after the meeting: "Tourism is a crucial sector for economic growth, development and prosperity for many countries in the world. It is a 'force for good'. If you don't have economic and social sustainability, you will not achieve ecological sustainability. If people don't know how to participate in global wealth, if people don't know how to have a decent earning, they will not take care of their surroundings, including the environment.
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. It aims to create role models and blueprints for other destinations over the next five years. 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 aims to show how a holistic approach to greater sustainability can work – for the people who live in destinations, for travellers, the environment and for the tourism industry."