Highest OTA Award for Economic Development to the Municipality of Kythera for Kythera Trails tourism programme

Highest OTA Award for Economic Development to the Municipality of Kythera for Kythera Trails tourism programme

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On 20 September 2023, the OTA (Local Government Entities) Awards ceremony took place at the crowded Zappeion Hall. 66 municipalities from all over Greece and five regions were awarded for projects, implemented in the period 2019-2023, which contribute to innovation, sustainability, and the quality of life in local communities.

Kythera Municipality won the 1st Economic Development Award for the Kythera Trails sustainable tourism programme and the 2nd Award for the water telemetry works

The Kytherian Foundation for Culture and Development (KIPA) as well as the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA) express their contentment that the initiative, which started by KIPA some 14 years ago, is being recognized not only as a model of sustainable tourism development, but also as a tool for economic development.

Τhis is the third award for Kythera Trails. Last year, the programme won the platinum award at the Greek Tourism Awards 2022 in the whole ‘Sustainability’ section and the bronze award in the ‘Sports & Adventure Destination’ category. Kythera Trails also became the first Green Flag certified hiking trail in Europe.

Since 2017, KIPA has partnered with the Municipality of Kythera, the Domestic Estate Management Committee of Kythera and Antikythera and MedINA to advance Kythera Trails. The second, and thematically expanded, MoU between the four organisations, was signed last year and will be in force until 2026.

MedINA has been instrumental in contributing to the Kythera Trails programme with financial resources and expertise, notably in the extension of the trail network to 100 km, the pilot implementation of the INCREAte approach, the scientific inventory of 417 points of cultural and natural heritage and the ethnographic study to develop the thematic identity of the trails.

The programme will continue to make progress, as the study for Phase B of the development of the trails network is ready, with 7 new routes and a total length of 68 km. This study documented Kythera’s exceptional potential in restoring old traditional trails for hiking tourism, as more cobbled paths, bridges, wetlands, Byzantine churches, caves, fossils and much more were documented and will become part of the network.

At the same time, the mountain biking routes are being completed and efforts will be made to develop special thematic routes. The main objective is to enrich, to the maximum extent possible, the already existing network of trails, highlighting the unique diversity of landscapes and the cultural wealth of Kythera Island.