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Mountain Ecotourism and Local Growth


The development of alternative types of tourism, which are all included under the term “Ecotourism”, can prove to be a valuable tool in promoting and simultaneously protecting the environment.

Mountain ecotourism, through the creation of a network of mountaineering and trekking routes, can present a new perspective and an alternative approach to the complex issue of the multifaceted crisis we are facing today, which is more than financial.
Promoting, signalling and cleaning the mountaineering paths are mild types of intervention that do not spoil the natural landscape, demand a small amount of capital and are labor-intensive; consequently, they create jobs for various specialties, both during implementation and during promotion.
Such an investment can result in multiple benefits, enhancing the area’s competitive advantage. It contributes to decentralization, keeping productive forces in the provinces, while it also creates infrastructures that can enhance the existing ones in guest houses and restaurants which have been created with the Leader European Programs. Enhancing attendance due to these activities also supports the local products of each area.
Greece is traditionally considered a summer destination, which is why most of its infrastructures regard its coastal zone, both in the mainland and in the islands. This approach, however, ignores a most important and rich natural asset: the country’s semi-alpine and alpine zone. 
From Crete to Cyclades, from Epirus to Macedonia, Greece is cut across by historic paths and exquisite routes of mountaineering value, which offer opportunities for various mountain sport activities. The European paths E4 and E6 cross the country to a great extent.
A coordinated effort of promoting all this natural wealth could possibly offer a different perspective about the type of tourism we wish to attract.
In the framework of the debate regarding economic growth, ecotourism as an alternative way of life and thought can serve as a financial tool for an economy that develops without expanding.

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