Over the last few decades, we have seen some†rising trends in the global travel industry and a noticeable shift towards ecotourism and sustainability. In Greece such trends have received a warm welcome, primarily due to the fact that agriculture is at the heart of its economic life and culture. With thousands of villages, hundreds of mountains and a plethora of products, a turn towards eco and agro farms was at the heartbeat of its society. And as far as we know, it was all there. What was missing was the marketing voice to spread the word to both local and incoming guests. Ironically the crisis was the driving force which encouraged a few Greek corporate professionals to return to their motherland, to discover new career paths closer to home and to apply their know how and international approach, creating unique concepts and responsible approaches. We choose three such concepts worth noticing:
The name of the hotel, Eleonas, means olive grove in Greek, as the resort is build at the top of a private hill with more than 1000 olive trees planted 100 years ago by the family. The owner of the resort, Marina, an Athenian created a home for her guests, close to nature, using eco friendly materials complying to the highest specifications in the agro touristic category. The rooms are all comfortable, with no TV or modern distractions, while the outdoor area offers a few shaded areas and a childrenísí playground. During the stay guests can enjoy the Olive grove and learn about the procedures, visit the local olive oil producer and of course enjoy the sea and the nearby village life of northern part of Evia Island such as Limni or Aidypsos. A highlight of the stay is breakfast with local handmade marmalades and honey.
The hotel is located at the heart of an organic farm surrounded by perennial olive trees, fruit and vegetable gardens, about 2 km from the village of Gouves in a traditional farming area surrounded by the mountains Taygetos and Parnonas. There are five elements/ houses for guests, all built with eth same eco philosophy and style. Guests during their stay and participate in the farmís daily activities such as picking and pressing grapes, or picking olives and produce olive oil. All produces are organic and privately labeled by the farm. In addition guests can enhance their farming life with hiking, mountain biking or yoga, getting even closer to nature. The hotel stands out for the sustainability policy and regional contribution.
The mountain farm, Vasilikia, is amphitheatrically located between the forest and the village Pavliani, a region of greenery landscapes, home to two of the oldest national parks. The farm unfolds in 2.6 hectares, with fruits and vegetables, horses and ducks, while there are 3 cottages for hosting the guests. The houses are built with local wood while the interior design enhances the mountain aura and lifestyle. The breakfast area is like grandmasí kitchen where guests can also cook and explore the local secrets first hand. A family of entrepreneurs coming from the fashion industry originally as their own private hideaway built the farm. Today, the farm is hosting guests who get involved in the farmís activities, enjoy hiking and running and love local food and recipes.
George Koletsos is Co-Founder of†Kudos Life Experiences.