HIBISCUS TRAVEL and
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
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
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
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
To involve local communities whenever possible in our
operations, ensuring that they receive a fair share of the
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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