Environmental monitoring and sustainable planning for tourism in Balos lagoon in Western Crete
Environmental impacts of tourism and sustainable tourism development
Published under CEST2023
Proceedings ISSN: 2944-9820
Balos lagoon was used as the case study to test a new methodology developed under the CROSS-COASTAL-NET initiative, Development of a Cross-Border Network for the Promotion of Sustainable Coastal Tourism, which is underneath the Interreg Greece–Cyprus program. The project examines the regions of Balos and Akamas in an attempt to settle any concerns raised in such sensitive coastal ecosystems, due to the issue of over tourism. Thus, environmental impact assessments and planning processes are considered essential to define an area’s carrying capacity (CC), so that the foundations for its sustainable touristic growth, can be built. In the current study, aiming to perform a holistic approach -investigation of all the aspects of sustainability, i.e., environment, society, and economy-, the methodology proposed for the carrying capacity identification is three-levelled: 1) calculation of the physical, real, and efficient carrying capacity, 2) quantification of the ecosystem’s biological quality, 3) definition of the stakeholders’ view, through ranking of proposed solutions derived from thorough research. Eventually, an integral strategy is being applied to capture a spherical view of the existing condition in Balos, as also to provide tailored made solutions.
Sustainable Tourism; Ecosystems monitoring and management; NATURA 2000; Carrying Capacity; environmental quality