Astypalaia: An island has a very ambitious goal: to become the first smoke free island in the world. The goal is particularly ambitious as the island is in Greece, the country that is considered the black sheep in Europe when it comes to implementation of laws το ban or restrict smoking in public and private places, in cafeterias and restaurants
What bears even more significance is that sponsor of the project is highly unexpected: a cigarettes producing company.
The small island in the Dodecanese, “the butterfly of the south Aegean” as they call Asypalaia, and Papastratos tobacco company announced their cooperation last Friday in the capital of the island, Chora.
Mayor of Astypalaia Paromitis Konstaratos and Commercial Dicrector of Papastratos Kostas Moulakakis spoke about their vision of “Astypalaia without Cigerette.”
“It is a choice, a conscious choice by residents and visitors not the result of police measures.
not the result of of implementing laws and ,”
The Municipality of Astypalaia is admittedly a pioneer with its ambitious goal and will certain offer a new definition of quality tourism.
At first level, no smoking will be allowed in enclosed places and in the picturesque windmills of the island of 1,334 permanent inhabitants. Volunteer groups will inform locals and visitors about the project, while actions and events will promote a better quality of life on the island.
Deputy Mayor in charge of Tourism Maria Kambouri noted that this is an initiative with symbolic character and mot a move for marketing purposes.
“It is a decision that is inseparably linked to our strategy and goals, both for the tourist development of the island and for the quality of our services. Astypalaia is the island of positive energy, a motto that is also the core of all our energies. The butterfly of the Aegean opens its wings for a world free of cigarette smoke. ”
The initiative of the Municipality of Astypalaia and the South Aegean Region met with the support of Papastratos company, which assured that it will also assist in other similar proposals.
The Regional Governor of South Aegean Giorgos Chatzimarkos said that also smokers are welcome on the island in order to get inducted into a smoke free culture.
Chatzimarkos announced that the island as a smoke free community will be promoted in the upcoming global International Travel Trade Show WTM in London beginning of November.
The Mayor of Astypalaia plans to seek an international body to certify the project and characterize the island as “smoke free destination.”
He hopes to be able to have concluded the first level of the project by next summer.