Greece is a country “gifted” with approximately 6.000 islands and islets, 227 of which are inhabited, and with a coastline over 13.600 km. This natural phenomenon of unparalleled beauty, combined with the pleasant climate and warm hospitality, attracts millions of visitors every year, who bring substantial monetary inflows to the national economy, but at the same time pressure the resilience of the natural resources of the islands and coastal areas.
Greek islands combine high added value both on an environmental and socio-economic level. On the one hand, because these are areas that host valuable ecosystems, rare or endangered species, etc. and on the other hand, because they are, plausibly, the “magnets” of the tourist flows. Therefore, they need to be areas of targeted policies, actions and initiatives aimed at mild, fair, and sustainable growth, in harmony with natural environment. By prioritising the awareness and commitment to the environment levels of local communities, islands can be clusters of effective, participatory and sustainable governance, that will promote synergies, knowledge, development and prosperity, always through the preservation of ecosystems and their natural and cultural features. Models potentially be developed and tested on an island level, may also be used as a “roadmap” for the sustainable management of respective areas in a broader context, leaving behind the obsolete models of unbridled tourism development.