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Polichnitos - Lesvos - 81 300 - Greece Tel.  +30 22520 41885,  61121,  - Fax.  +30 22520 41885, 61121

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HIBISCUS TRAVEL and RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

Responsibletravel.com  - Hibiscus Travel is a committed member of responsibletravel.com the website which brings together an extensive range of environmentally and socially beneficial travel products. Accommodations, travel companies and operators are only accepted as members of the site once they have proved they are dedicated to operating in a responsible manner enabling travellers to book their holiday with confidence.

Hibiscus Travel is a  project of  an enterprising family which espouses the principles of responsible tourism,  and is working hard in delivering responsible tourism in the Greek island of Lesvos, through developing a “responsible code of conduct” and maintaining standards. 

Currently Tourism is the most rapidly growing industry in the world and the second largest income generator for the world economy. Nature holidays, the area in which Hibiscus Travel is specialising are one of the fastest growing segments of the industry. 

Tourism development in our locality had a positive impact on the local economy. It has broadened the horizons of the locals thus giving them the incentive to stay around and not to go off to Mainland Greece to seek employment. However responsible tourism further encourages local people to take a deeper interest in nature and environmental protection, develop the nature trails and work on the land organically producing products that are wanted by the environmentally conscious clients ; it gives them a greater pride in the countryside around the villages while at the same time ideas on how they can demonstrate their skills and ability of how to mix with people from many walks of life and from all over the world who aspire to the same values are generated.

Thus the conservation of habitats, wildlife, monuments, culture and heritage is safeguarded. The local community continues to survive and prosper with increasing employment opportunities and the products of the community are gaining customers.

HIBISCUS TRAVEL considers the development of a detailed Responsible Tourism Policy as the only way forward. The following information indicates our commitment to Responsible Tourism and our recommendations to you, our client.

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM – OUR POLICY

  • To develop and commit to long term plans to primarily visit rural areas and local communities in the island of Lesvos and the North East Aegean islands of Lemnos, Chios, Samos and Ikaria.
  • To promote areas which don’t benefit from the rewards of mass market tourism and minimise environmental damage by exploring in small groups.
  • To educate the local people on environmental and conservation issues affecting long term benefit nature tourism.
  • To involve local communities whenever possible in our operations, ensuring that they receive a fair share of the benefits accrued.
  • To use whenever possible, small, locally owned, family run accommodation and to collaborate with other travel agents who espouse the same principles of ethical, responsible tourism.
  • To use whenever possible local guides.
  • To promote and purchase, where possible, local products.
  • To contribute financially to local conservation projects.
  • To work with local and overseas conservation organisations in the protection of the local environment.
  • To keep our clients well inform of our activities and projects regarding protection of the local environment and the development of new nature tourism destinations.
  • To run our Lesvos based office in as an energy-efficient manner as possible. 

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

A nature holiday with Hibiscus Travel in Lesvos and the islands of the North East Aegean region is an opportunity to experience important habitats, without the removal of any species: plant, seed, bird or animal from its natural environment. Watching and photographing wildlife with the minimum of intrusion and disturbance are what is advised and expected.

We consider ourselves wardens of this huge inheritance for the preservation of the species for future generations to enjoy.  We take action ( advising local government bodies, educational seminars, local guidelines, TV & newspaper articles, direct input when breaches of the standards are observed etc) to ensure that these standards are maintained. 

Our resent election as Chairperson of LEPET (an environmentally conscious Lesviot Society who promotes “green tourism”) and membership of “The Friends of Green Lesvos” www.greenlesbos.com , an active conservation organisation is only two ways through which we contribute to the wider issue of conservation of the environment.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Hibiscus Travel promotes and the majority of the time uses small locally owned and managed accommodation (Family Hotels) and tavernas serving traditional home-cooked meals as the local people eat, using locally grown produce rather than westernised adulterated versions.

Although this type of accommodation may not present the opulence of luxury hotels, they are very comfortable and able to provide all necessary amenities and services, they minimise environmental impact and support local communities and their traditions.

Regarding gifts and souvenirs to take home we promote the natural edible products (olive oil, olives, honey, preserves, dairy products etc) and handicrafts (pottery, textiles and wood carvings) produced by the nine Women’s Co-operatives of Lesvos and small cottage industry outlets, rather than the imported goods masquerading the genuine traditional goods sold in specific outlets.

To this end Hibiscus Travel supports the operations of LESVOSHOP (Mytilini based outlet of products made in Lesvos & Lemnos), by recommending or including visits to organised programmes of nature holidays.

Also we frequently host, free of charge visiting  journalists, conservationists, tour agents of nature holidays to Lesvos and anyone else that is sympathetic to our objectives for Responsible Tourism, who is prepared to work with us in the achievement of these objectives.

ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITY

Responsible Tourism and Hibiscus Travel are in many ways interlinked. When the need to actively pursue a policy of Responsible Tourism was not generally speaking a priority locally or nationally in Greece, our concern for the environment and conservation of resources, habitats and species were at the centre of our planning and operations.

Dimitra Balkizas, (Owner of Hibiscus Travel) devotes her time to the role of Responsible Tourism Officer. She keeps abreast of “RT” developments and standards within the Industry and remains fully committed to the principles, making as full a contribution as possible.

Over the years we have invested personal funds for:

  • Education  and support of the local community in the pursuance of responsible tourism objectives
  • Promotion of the locality as a destination for green tourism.

Also we are:

  • Actively involved in organisations (LEPET & FRIENDS OF GREEN LESBOS ) that  focus in the protection of the environment  and survival of local communities through sustainable tourism
  • Lobby local government officials for matters relating to the protection of the environment
  • Publish relevant articles in the local press
  • Appear on TV to talk about relevant issues
  • Finance the publication of relevant literature ( “ The Essence of Lesvos” / General guide to the Region of Polichnitos & “ Vatera Around & About” / Walking Guide
  • Support locally owned small hotels and guesthouses
  • Employ local staff and guides as necessary.

FINANCIALLY

As a Travel Agency which is so closely involved and ultimately dependent upon nature tourism, we are acutely aware of the need to protect species and habitats. Currently Hibiscus Travel donates to the Alykoudi Nature Reserve Conservation Project Fund 25 Euro per holiday booking of nature/culture holidays as advertised at its web site www.lesvos-ecotourism.com


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