This month, Rhodes’ Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites became the first hotel in the world to be awarded the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) certificate. The certification audit took place at the end of April, reviewing the hotel’s commitment to the four pillars of sustainability: sustainable management, environmental impact, socioeconomic impact, and cultural impact.
Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites is a luxury boutique hotel in the village of Lindos on the Greek island of Rhodes. Owner Michalis Melenos, who was raised in Lindos, spent 13 years creating the hotel to look like a “small village” within Lindos. He used a local architect to design the hotel and worked with artists to create the hotel’s traditional mosaics and artwork, inspired by 17th century Lindian mansions and created with local materials. “We have made a tremendous effort to respect Lindos’ environment and community, both in our daily practices and in the construction of the hotel itself,” said Melenos. In addition to traditional craftsmanship, Mr. Melenos has also put into action several on-site sustainability programs.
For example, the hotel has a private garden and orchard, where staff members grow fruits and vegetables that are used in the hotel restaurant. It also has a linen re-use initiative to reduce water consumption, a recycled waste program, and has installed low energy lighting. “Melenos Lindos has been an incredibly positive influence on our community,” said Dimitra Adoniou, a Lindos community representative. “Not only does it blend into the existing infrastructure, but it also employs our community members and purchases from Lindian suppliers.”
The GSTC certificate was created by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, an international organization launched in 2007. The organization was started by a group of 32 partners, who formed the four pillars of sustainability and set criteria for any business that wants to be labeled “sustainable” in the tourism industry. In 2016, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council accredited the international certification body Control Union to certify businesses to its criteria. “The GSTC criteria go a step beyond the other sustainability certifications on the market,” said Socrates Antsos, Certification Manager at Control Union Greece. “While most certifications focus only on environmental impact, GSTC is more holistic, also measuring the business’ relationship with the community, respect of traditional cultural heritage, and opportunities for local employment.”
The certification is bringing international attention to Greece, a country known for its pristine vacation destinations and booming tourism industry. As the first recipient of the GSTC certificate, Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites hopes to act as a role model for others – both in Greece and worldwide – who are committed to improving their business’ sustainability practices. “We are excited for the opportunity to showcase our procedures and make a place for Greece on the global sustainability map,” said Melenos.
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