I am Fivos and my passion is to bring back to life old, forgotten mule trails in Greece. I am the co-founder of Paths of Greece, a Social Co-operative Enterprise, aiming at developing hiking tourism in Greece. I spend most of my time doing fieldwork, crawling under bushes, jumping over fences and dry-stone walls, crossing forests and walking coastal trails, always following the footpaths of our ancestors. I believe that happiness can occur in our lives from the simplest things, and this is what I am searching for every single day.
Paths of Greece aims at making Greece one of the top 10 hiking destinations in the world! To do this, we search the old trails (some of them 6000 years old!), we clear them, we sign-post them and we promote them internationally. Greece combines in an extreme degree natural diversity, cultural richness and great hospitality. In addition it enjoys perfect weather conditions all year round. At the same time, we have developed a project called Hikers Friendly Hotels, that aims at adapting the services and facilities offered by a hotel to hikers.
Unfortunately, the mentality of many Greeks has a negative impact on the environment when it comes to waste management. Recycling is struggling to be developed, and people often just drop rubbish out of their window. On the trails, rarely one will encounter garbage, except of wild depositories of industrial waste, or shotgun cartoons.
As the country accepts more than 30M tourists a year (more than triple the population), concentrated during the summer peak season, the environmental impact is huge, and it affects the natural resources in a very unsustainable way.
However, we are happy to realise that more and more, younger people have a different attitude towards waste management, recycling and pollution, and we believe that the situation will become a lot better in the years to come.
Developing hiking tourism goes through the extension of tourist season with reasonable amounts of people, who respect the environment and local cultures. The pressure that they put on the local resources is rather positive, as by their attitude, they motivate the locals too to use resources in a more sustainable way.
Our job is to facilitate these visitors to easily find and walk the paths and to discover the natural and cultural sites of each area. We do so by clearing the old trails from vegetation, building a low cost, sustainable signage system, and promoting the trails to the rights public.
We work closely with the local communities in every aspect, and especially when it comes to the management of the hiking network, we empower a local team, to be the “soul” of the project.
More specifically, the Hikers Friendly project returns part of its benefits to every locality, by covering the costs of trail maintenance or trail promotion.
We found out about My Green Trip at a hiking fair in Paris, and we immediately thought that a partnership could be fruitful for both organisations. On our side, we would like to use the knowledge of My Green Trip to motivate hikers to collect trash and to leave no trace. Within our Hikers Friendly project, we would like to invite the hotel owners to use the My Green Trip kit in order to provide it to their customers. On the other hand, My Green Trip could become well-known in Greece through our organisation that has thousands of followers.
Yes, we strongly believe that partnerships lead you to new targets in a safer and much more enjoyable way!