Cyprus is firmly committed to the principles of responsible tourism, as is clearly evident in The Cyprus Tourism Strategy 2011-2015, which can be viewed here. Over the last decade or more, there has been a successful programmes aimed at minimising environmental impacts, maximising socio-economic benefits to communities, while celebrating the island's rich and diverse culture . What makes Cyprus stand out from other destinations however is just how successfully it has integrated the principles of responsible tourism into the visitor experience, ranging from the sustainability certification of some of its largest hotels within mainstream tourism, to the inspiring range of work undertaken in collaboration with the Travel Foundation and CSTI in supporting inland communities.
In 2010, the CTO entered into a five-year partnership with the Travel Foundation and the CSTI whereby the government provided majority-funding to continue the ground-breaking initiatives between the Travel Foundation and CSTI, which date back to 2005. To date, there have been eleven bespoke projects, each addressing environmental impacts, or aimed at addressing contemporary social issues such as the economic impacts of the all-inclusive tourism model.
It is therefore no coincidence that in 2014, the country became the first in the world to introduce mandatory sustainability criteria for its hotels. The move demonstrated the belief of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) and its partners that quality and sustainability quite simply must go hand-in-hand. Cyprus seeks to inspire its year-round visitors with its increasing integration of authenticity and character into holiday experiences, to inspire its business stakeholders across the island to continue their journey in responsible tourism, and indeed to inspire and influence other destinations around the world, as evidenced by a number of destinations since announcing their commitment (if not the achievement) of the same.
As we finalise our strategy for the next five years, we will ensure that responsible tourism is even further integrated into our vision for the future, for the benefit of all stakeholders, whether they be our valued visitors, industrious tourism enterprises, or the diverse communities across our special island.