Report on the three-day circular tourism event on Aegina Island
A three-day circular tourism event took place on Aegina Island (Greece) on 13-15 May 2022. The event was a great success! It was initiated by the CIVINET Greece – Cyprus, with support from the Region of Attica, and co-organised with: the Municipality of Aegina; the Cycling Community of Attica; the Network of Municipalities of the Attica Islands; the Kytherian Foundation for Culture and Development: ECHO (the informal partnership for the promotion of sustainable tourism in Poros, Troizinia and Methana); and KATHETI (the cultural and educational organisation for the sustainable development of Poros, Troizinia and Methana).
The three-day event was organised in the framework of the Interreg MED INCIRCLE project, in which the CIVINET Greece-Cyprus is a partner. Since October 2021, the Region of Attica has also been engaged in the project, using it to help develop a circular tourism strategy for the Regional Unit of the Attica Islands.
The aims of the three-day event were to open the discussion on circular tourism at the local level, and to guide participants to experience, in practice, a three-day circular tourism event with elements that could be implemented in their contexts.
Event highlights included an open discussion on circular tourism, a boat visit to the uninhabited island of Moni, swimming in turquoise waters, a bike ride on the Perdika-Aegina coastal route, and a hike to the Ancient Olive Grove of Aegina.
On Friday, 5 July, an excellent discussion was held on the region's Circular Tourism Strategy. This session, which kicked-off the event in the garden of the Folklore Museum of Aegina, was opened by Kosmas Anagnostopoulos, Coordinator of the CIVINET Greece–Cyprus, and Mary Koukouli, Deputy Mayor of Aegina Tourism. Maria Kalatzopoulou, a scientific associate of the CIVINET, presented the region's Circular Tourism Strategy, after which local stakeholder representatives of the Argosaronic provided additional inputs. Watch the full panel discussion here.
Saturday, 6 July was all about experiencing circular tourism. It brought participants to the islet of Moni, located southwest of Aegina, for nature walks and diving. Later, a cycling trip from Perdika to the Port of Aegina, organised with support from the Cycling Community of Attica, showed off the CIVINET's electric Cargo Bike, which carried supplies for the excursion.
The climax of the event was a morning hike on Sunday, 7 July, which aquainted participants with the island's unique lanscape, settlements, century-old trees, and gullies.
The organisers hope that the event will trigger the organisation of similar actions in the future, and perhaps even a new institution in the Argosaronic region. All participants agreed that, through cooperation with specialised scientists, regional and municipal authorities, and local stakeholders, shifting towards more circular tourism seems more feasible than ever.
Author: CIVINET Greece-Cyprus