Kythera, Greece (2 October 2019) - Kythera island, Greece will become the first hiking destination in Europe to apply the international Green Flag Trails system of trail auditing, a sustainability mark being implemented by the World Trails Network, to increase the sustainability and marketability of trails around the world.
From October 4 to October 11, trail experts from Greece, Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Kenya will gather on the island of Kythera, Greece, in order to participate at the Green Flag Trails Auditor Training Course, the first of its kind in Europe. The training is hosted by the World Trails Network, with the support of the Kytherian Foundation for Culture and Development. During the training, Kythera Trails, the official trails network of Kythera, will be audited and awarded with the Green Flag Trails Certificate.
Green Flag Trails is a certification that recognises trails for their accurate data, environmental responsibility and sustainable management. It focuses on sustainability and responsibility towards hiking and walking tourists and aims to stimulate ecotourism. Green Flag Trails is a scientifically based trail auditing system, developed over a 15 year period by professor of ecotourism, Dr Leon Hugo. The system has been applied and tested in 6 different countries to date, including Nepal, South Africa and Peru.
“Trails are an integral component of the global adventure tourism industry, they are also vital to many of the world's urban populations in providing access to nature and recreation,” says founding Chair of the World Trails Network, Galeo Saintz.
Green Flag Trails helps trails improve their offerings to the public and ensures timely and appropriate maintenance of trail infrastructure. Through the built-in information accuracy check, the system helps hikers and trail users know which trails are best suited to meet their abilities and preferences. The global trails industry stands to gain increased credibility by implementing systems that enhance environmental responsibility, marketing and trail data that is verified as accurate and trustworthy.
This high-level international seminar will be hosted by the World Trails Network, supported by the Kytherian Foundation of Culture and Development, with the assistance of Paths of Greece, and will take place at a certified “Hikers Friendly” Hotel on the island of Kythera, Greece.
“We look forward to this innovative course being hosted for the first time in Europe,” says George Kasimatis, President of the Kytherian Foundation for Culture and Development (KIPA). “Our trails already show the benefits of collaboration when it comes to innovative tourism development, from the outset we teamed up with partners such as the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA), the Municipality of Kythera and Antikythera and Paths of Greece.”
“We are certain it will add huge value to Kythera’s many trails and we are looking forward to welcoming international trail experts on our island” says Rigas Zafeiriou,Trail Developer with Kythera Trails.
For more information visit the Green Flag Trails website
About Kytherian Foundation for Culture and Development: Since 2006, the Kytherian Foundation has championed the conservation of Kythera Island’s cultural and natural heritage, while contributing to sustainable development and the quality of life of the local community through educational activities, events, scientific conferences and the restoration of traditional trails among others. For more information visit: https://kipa.org.gr/