Natural Greece

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Natural Greece is for actively minded people visiting Greece who are looking for authentic, fun travel experiences and want to make a difference. At Natural Greece we believe in a set of principles based on the laws of nature. Nature supports an almost unending abundance of variety and diversity. A visit to Greece with that same flair for diversity results in unique travel experiences that benefit communities, nature conservation and the environment. Make Travel Positive !
Member since: 05 Sep 2012

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

- Overall, we provide guests with lots of local information about things to do in Greece and where to go in Greece. We emphasize the more authentic way of traveling, staying at family-run accommodations, eating at local restaurants and supporting local business etc.

- We actively work with nature organizations and support their work, which is much needed these days. Considering the fact that Greece is facing a major economic crisis, state funding is close to zero nowadays and corporate sponsorship is minimal, we believe that eco-tourism, bird tourism and voluntourism can be powerful revenue generating opportunities for those struggling NGO's. Nature organizations we currently support are Callisto, a wildlife charity protecting the large mammals of Greece and the Hellenic Ornithological Society (BirdLife Greece).

- The emphasis is on utilizing direct sales channels, such as instead of the "traditional" sales channel where the outbound Tour Operator takes a large portion of the profit and turnover and typically employs non-local guides (from the source markets-not from the destination). This way, more money is going to the local Greek communities.

Environmental responsibility

- We celebrate ecological diversity
From the highest peak of Mount Olympus to the southernmost semi-arid island of Gavdos, and from the wetlands in Northern Greece to the lush green Ionian Islands, Greece boasts many different ecosystems that represent an enormous ecological value! It has more unique (endemic) plant species then any other European country and this makes it a true botanist's paradise. In Greece, you can have an underwater encounter with the Monk Seal, follow the traces of the European Brown Bear in the wilderness of Northern Greece or hear the spooky bird sounds of the Shearwaters aboard your ship at night! Many trips on offer intend to promote this rich natural heritage. Most of all: travel inspiration leads to a desire to act and to conserve nature! We include a sustainable tourism rating system for each trip to show you in what way Ecological Diversity is respected and celebrated.

- Our trips support and contribute to biodiversity conservation, including natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value.
Interactions with wildlife, taking into account cumulative impacts, do not produce adverse effects on the viability and behaviour of populations in the wild. Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management. We provide information about and interpretation of the natural surroundings to travelers, as well as explaining appropriate behaviour while visiting natural areas.

- We aim to travel with low environmental impact
In 2013 Greece expects to welcome some 17 million international visitors! Apart from the expected positive economic impact for this country hit hard by the crisis, it is vital that the negative environmental impact is not being ignored. Just try to imagine the impact of the expected 70 cm seawater level rising in the next 10 years will have on life on the Greek Islands! The good news is: we all can participate by reducing energy consumption and reducing carbon emission during our trip. One way of doing so is by flying less, flying direct and neutralizing your carbon emissions by offsetting your flight.
The carefully selected trips by Natural Greece all contain some elements that help to diminish negative impacts on the environment. Use of hotel(s) and other tourist providers with a sustainability certification system like Travelife or Green Key.
We use low carbon transport methods where possible, from sailing boats using wind power; biking and hiking and horse riding using muscle power to public transportation (trains, metro, buses, tram, ferry boats).

Social responsibility

We celebrate a diversity of place and culture:
- The trips on offer by Natural Greece are all about respecting place & culture, whilst delivering you rich and authentic experiences at an affordable price. We actively celebrate Greek culture - Greece is a true paradise for cultural tourism, a large journey into history and art. Visit ancient archaeological sites, monuments and museums and see for yourself that Greece is the cradle of Western civilization.
We celebrate local customs and festivals - Visit unique local festivals with roots dating back thousands of years ago!

- We celebrate local traditional cuisine - Greece has a richly varied cuisine, as diverse as the individual regions of the country. Prepare Ancient Greek food, collect fruit and make marmalade with the local women's cooperative or learn how to make delicious traditional Greek food with your local chef!

- We celebrate local traditional architecture - Hotels and settlements in local traditional style use local material and energy flows and tend to be more attractive. This forms a stark contrast to the usual "one-size-fits-all" hotel with pool displayed in the tourism brochures. Stay at an 18th century mansion that has maintained the traditional style and look of the Pelion architecture. Or marvel at the world famous Cycladic style on Santorini Island, with the whitewashed walls and blue roof and windows.

Information about and interpretation of the local culture, and cultural heritage is provided to travelers, as well as explaining appropriate behavior while visiting living cultures and cultural heritage sites.
- Local services and goods are purchased and offered, following fair-trade principles.
- Supporting local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area's nature, history and culture (including food and beverages, crafts, performance arts, agricultural products, etc.).
- Historical and archaeological artefacts are not sold, traded or displayed, except as permitted by local to international law.
- Contribute to the protection and preservation of local historical, archaeological, culturally and spiritually important properties and sites.
- Trips contain elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities.

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