In Rethymno’s Amari Valley an interesting project in the field of “volunteer tourism” took place recently. The French company Wild Nature, in collaboration with Meronas Village officials, sought to enhance the already marvelous eco-tourism value of the region.
Some 260 advisors came to Crete from France and Belgium to participate in a program “H2O at Home,” a dual purpose campaign. The volunteers participated in cleanup using eco-friendly products, planting trees and aromatic herbs, and marking many kilometers of hiking and cycling routes in and around Meronas.
The group was divided in two, with smaller subgroups setting out to accomplish different tasks. Wild Nature cooperated with the Athens Tourist Office Optimum Hellas, to launch the H2O project two years ago. That proposal was readily accepted, and representatives of the French company visited Meronas for a detailed briefing by the leaders of Wild Nature and local stakeholders in 2019-2020.
The project miss was to raise awareness of local participation in eco-tourism. The organizers seek to help encourage through doing, the idea that collective action is the only way to reach truly sustainable tourism. The setting of the rural area in the west of Geopark of Psiloritis Mountain afforded organizers an ideal backdrop for creating conditions for future efforts.
Organizers said they were very thankful for the assistance of the Ecclesiastical Council in Meronas, headed by Father Emmanuel Vamiedakis. The Cultural Association of Meronas and Amari, and the President of the Community were also acknowledged by Giorgos Tsakalakis, who is the director of Ecotourism Company “Wild Nature.”