Presentation of the results and tasting of the Cretan wines and olive oils on ITB
Achieving a sustainable regional development by linking the local agriculture with the tourism sector under the umbrella of sustainability – this is the main objective of the project „Crete – first steps towards a sustainable food destination” that the TUI Care Foundation is implementing in Crete together with Futouris and the project partners Local Food Experts sce and bluecontec GmbH.
On Wednesday afternoon the project partners presented the project at the ITB. Elise Allart, TUI Care Foundation, and Prof. Dr. Harald Zeiss, Futouris, welcomed the many guests as well as several project participants.
Andreas Koch, CEO of bluecontec as well as Maria Valerga (Senior Consultant for sustainable tourism), Kostas Bouyouris (CPO – Chief Project Officer) and Sotiris Bampagiouris (CEO) of the Local Food Experts social cooperative enterprise from Crete introduced the project and the results of the first two years of its implementation to the audience:
- 200 farmers have been already trained and cooperate with two wineries and two olive oil mills as well as with seven hotels.
- 27 sustainable labelled products (including 21 wines of Cretan indigenous varieties) have been produced since the project kick-off in summer 2017, four of them are additionally certified according to the EU organic standards.
Angeliki A. Iatrou of Michalakis Estate is pleased: “By participating in this initiative we deeply understood and realized the importance of sustainable management and were driven on this direction. We achieved the implementation of extraordinary activities and were inspired to also produce two organic wines. We feel we are in a cycle of continuous improvement.”
The development of a positive cooperation between the representatives of the two sectors as well as the realization of local oriented authentic products’ tastings with the participation of the producers resulted in an increase of the projects’ wines by 240% in the involved hotels compared to 2017.
For the long-term local anchoring of the concept, a “Train the Trainer“-program was launched in 2018: Project participants from hotels, food production units and agricultural cooperatives were trained. Through these intense trainings they themselves become experts in connecting sustainable local food cultivation with tourism and learn how to promote such products by improving the guest satisfaction simultaneously. The objective is that the trainers are able to pass on their knowledge to their colleagues. So far 455 hotel employees, 17 trainers, 25 employees of TUI and 10 employees of the local production facilities (wineries and olive mills) have been trained.
In order to bring the project closer to the guests and to draw attention to the sustainable wines and olive oils, over 140 wine and olive oil tastings have been organized with the seven participating hotels in collaboration with the food production units, with more than 2,000 guests participating. Some tourists who had personally attended a tasting in Crete were invited to tell the ITB audience about this special experience. They highly appreciated the aspect of locality as well as the cultivation and production with respect to the land and the local people. Representatives of the participating hotels such as Babis Foskolakis, General Manager of the Sbokos Hotel Group, also praised the project: “It is of our great pleasure and satisfaction to be part of this project. We are convinced that our common project will bring positive results for its targets.“
Together with TUI the project partners have designed a sustainable excursion which is offered exclusively by the TUI Collection, the sustainable excursion programme of TUI. On this excursion guests are visiting among others two wineries where they learn more about the unique local wine varieties, the sustainable grape growing and the winemaking process. A short hike through the vines while farmers are answering questions and introducing the sustainable agriculture practices as well as wine tastings are also included. More than 100 guests took part in this excursion in 2018 and were thrilled by the authentic experience.
The event concluded successfully with an open invitation to all participants to taste the projects’ wines and olive oils while having interesting discussions.
In this project local farmers are brought to a better understanding of sustainable management methods and are connected with local tourism professionals. The link will be used to identify and exploit synergies between food producers and holiday makers.