Efstathios Velissariou1, Thomas Poulios2 & Christos Amoiradis3

1Department of Business Administration, University of Thessaly, GR 41500 Larissa, Greece,

2Department of Business Administration, University of Thessaly, GR 41500 Larissa, Greece,

3Department of Business Administration, University of Thessaly, GR 41500 Larissa, Greece,



The paper presents the project and the methodology of the establishment of a sustainable tourism observatory in the islands of the Northern Sporades in Greece in 2021. The mission of the observatory ( will be the collection of tourist data for the measuring of indicators and the estimation of tourist trends, in order to provide evidence for a sustainable tourism development in the region. The Northern Sporades Islands are a small complex of islands in the North-west Aegean Sea, which show especially in the last 20 years intense tourist growth. At the same time, the area is distinguished by special natural features such as the National marine park, which are a nature reserve for a series of terrestrial and marine species living in the Mediterranean Sea, including the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus).

Tourism observatories are based on the effort launched by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) through the GOST program (Global Observatories for Sustainable Tourism) aiming to support globally tourist destinations to become more sustainable in all three dimensions: economic, social and environmental. In 2004 followed the creation of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), in which we aim also to include the Sporades observatory. The tourism Observatory in the Sporades Islands is methodologically based on the European Environmental Agency’s (1999) DPSIR model (driving forces – pressures – state – impact – responses), which is a causal framework for describing the interactions between society and the environment. Based on the records of 32 selected indicators for the specific region of Sporades islands, the grad of the tourism development and the impact will be calculated. In addition to the 32 tourism impact indicators, the observatory also records indicators of the tourist market trend. This recording will be based on data of tourism companies and operators, airports and search engines, such as Hotel Availabilities Channel Manager, BookOnlineNow Booking Engine, etc.

Finally, it should be noted that the establishment of the observatory and the implementation are in early stages and there may be methodological changes in the future. However, the periodic and frequent recording of the indicators will provide important information for tourism planning, especially at a time when Greece intends to make a restart in tourism, after the pandemic and the observatory will be an important guide for sustainable development.


Keywords: Tourism Observatories, Sustainable Tourism indicators, Sporades Islands, Greece





The relationship between tourism development and environmental protection, as well the socio-economic relations, has been a field of research and practical approach, at least since the 1970s. In this context, the monitoring of tourism development through establishments, such as the tourism observatories proposed by the World Tourism Organization, is a useful tool.

The Regional Unit of the Northern Sporades is a small complex of islands in the Northwest Aegean and very close to mainland Greece. The complex includes 3 large islands with intense tourist activity, three small islands and 47 small uninhabited islands. The characteristic of the area is that in an area of ​​2,200 square kilometers extends the National Marine Park of Alonnisos - Northern Sporades which is probably one of the largest protected marine area in the Mediterranean.

The decision to establish a Sustainable Tourism Observatory in the islands of the Northern Sporades islands in Greece was inspired by the efforts of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with the GOST program (Global Observatories for Sustainable Tourism) and the creation in 2004 of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) for the supporting the continuous improvement of sustainability and resilience in the tourism sector.

The paper presents the aim and the methodology of the sustainable tourism observatory in the in the Sporades Islands, as well the presentation of the Islands in terms of their geographical and tourism characteristics. The objective of the observatory will be to record off Sustainable Tourism Indicators (STI), but also indicators concerning tourist market trends. The methodology is based on the European Environmental Agency’s (1999) DPSIR model (driving forces - pressures - state - impact - responses). Based on the records, the grad of tourism development and the impact indicators and indexes will be measured.

Initially and before the presentation of the Sporades area and the methodology, a small reference is made to the sustainable observatories, but also to the use of indicators in the field of tourism and especially of the sustainable tourism.



In 2004 the UNWTO established the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) with the main objective to support the continuous improvement of sustainability and resilience in the tourism sector through systematic, timely and regular monitoring of tourism performance and impact and to connect dedicated destinations in order to better understand destination-wide resource use and foster the responsible management of tourism ( This action came to fill the lack of reliable data at the destination level continues to be one of the major challenges the sector needs to address and in order to support destination stakeholders to take focused and coherent action to accelerate the shift towards Sustainable Consumption and production patterns. The main Objectives are (

  • Integrated Approach, to provide a framework for the systematic, timely and regular monitoring of resource-use and a better understanding of the impact of tourism.
  • Evidence, to establish a strong foundation of tangible and structured data for well-informed decision making.
  • Stakeholder Empowerment to actively engage local stakeholders in the measuring of risks, costs, impacts, limits and opportunities through an inclusive and participatory approach.
  • Network and Learn to exchange information for improved knowledge, collaboration, communication, and greater public accountability.
  • Performance Measuring to monitor and advise on the implementation of sustainable development plans, policies, and management actions.
  • Continuity to foster long-term commitment for regular monitoring.

Since the establishment in 2004, a total of 30 observatories have joined the UNWTO INSTO Network: eight in China, one in Greece, one in Mexico, one in Brazil, five in Indonesia, one in Croatia, one in the United States, one in New Zealand, one in Italy, one in Panama, one in Guatemala, one in Argentina, one in Australia, one in Canada, three in Portugal and the last to join us from Spain, bringing a total of two observatories in Spain. (

In recent years, two tourism observatories have been established in Greece. The first in collaboration with the University of the Aegean, is the Aegean Sustainable Tourism Observatory ( The Observatory operates under the auspices of the World Tourism Organization and is a member of the Global Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories. The observatory participates in the Committee for the Measuring of Sustainable Tourism of the WTO, which deals with the development of methodologies for the improvement of the way of measuring the tourist activity (

The second tourism observatory in Greece is the Tourism Observatory of Western Crete which is a cooperation of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania ( and other institutions. The Western Crete Tourism Observatory represents an initiative of the Hotel Association of Chania, the Economic Chamber of Western Crete and the Business Chamber of Chania.



The Regional unit of the Northern Sporades is a small complex of islands in the Northwest Aegean and very close to mainland Greece. Administratively, it belongs to the Region of Thessaly and is characterized by highly developed typical Mediterranean forest vegetation, which covers 68.8% of the islands. Throughout the sea around the Sporades Islands, there is a rich fish fauna, with most of it designated as a "Marine Park" and protected by a Presidential Decree under the Ramsar Convention. The total population of the area (according to the 2011 census) amounts to 13,798 and is divided mainly into three large islands and three smaller ones, while there are another 47 small and uninhabited islands (17 islands in the Municipality of Skiathos, 6 in the Municipality of Skopelos and 24 in the Municipality Alonnisos).


Figure 1: Topographic sketch of the Northern Sporades Islands

Source: Hejl, E., Riedl, H. & Weingartner, H. (1999)


Skiathos is the closest island to mainland Greece and only 2.4 miles east of the coast. Occupies a small area of 49.9 Km2 but is the largest islands in terms of population with 6088 inhabitants according to the 2011 census. About 66.14% of the population is employed in the tertiary sector. The island has a very large percentage of vegetation. The island is covered mainly with pine (Pinus halepensis) and evergreen broadleaves at 52% of its area and olive groves at 28%. Despite the small size of the island, there are three wetlands, while the island has been characterized as a CORINE area (Doxopoulos, 2013). Skiathos records the largest tourist development mainly due to the airport which favors the development of international tourism, but also the ferry connections with mainland Greece.

Skopelos is located east of Skiathos and west of Alonnisos and is the largest island with 96.3 Km2, while the length of its coastline is 67 km and has 4,960 inhabitants. About 47.8% of the island is covered by forests and 48% of the population is employed in the tertiary sector. The northern part of the island of Skopelos belongs to the National Marine Park of the Northern Sporades, and therefore to a NATURA 2000 area. The area of ​​the protected part of the island is about 39 square kilometers. Skopelos is a mature tourist area with a tourism development course, in which it has contributed a shift from mass tourism to a selective higher income tourism, with environmental interests.

Alonnisos is the largest island in the Northern Sporades and occupies an area of ​​129.6 Km2, but has the lowest population amounting 2,712 inhabitants. Three small, inhabited islands belong to the Municipality of Alonnisos. In 1992, the Alonnisos Northern Sporades National Marine Park was established, a protected area with an area of ​​2,200 square kilometers, probably the largest protected marine area in the Mediterranean.

The Marine Park is divided into 3 zones with different degrees of protection: Core zone: an area of ​​70 square kilometers, in which all kinds of human activity are prohibited, except for scientific research and management of the protected area. The Zone A is an area of 1,480 square kilometers that includes 7 uninhabited islands, several islets and the sea area around them. The regulations in force vary from island to island. The Zone B is an area of ​​650 square kilometers that includes Alonnisos, 4 uninhabited islands and the sea area around them. Most human activities are allowed, apart from the average fishery for which there are special arrangements (Trivoyrea et al. 2011). The aim of this Park is both the protection of ecosystems and the parallel sustainable development of Alonnisos.



According to the study of Greek national tourism organization (GNTO, 2003), the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonnisos are classified in the mature tourist areas of the Region of Thessaly, and gather not only important hotel infrastructure, but also high tourist demand from abroad. 86 hotels are established on the three islands, offering a total capacity of 10,921 beds. About 40.3% of the capacity is classified in the category of 4 and 5 stars, about 53.3% in the category of 3 and 2 stars and the remaining 7.4% in the lowest category of 1 star (Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, 2019).

In Skiathos are established the 63.25% of the capacity of hotel beds, in Skopelos the 24.71% and Alonnisos the remaining 12.04%. In addition to hotel beds, there is many supplementary accommodations, such as rooms and apartments for rent, as well Airbnb. In Skiathos more than 300 accommodations are offered through the website of (, while in the whole of the Sporades the offer exceeds 10,000 beds, raising the numbers of the bed’s capacity offered in more than 20,000 beds, almost double the population of the islands.

The airport in Skiathos is the most important factor of tourism development, contributing to the arrival of tourists from Europe and the development of mass tourism (Velissariou et al. 2020). The international air arrivals at Skiathos airport in 2019 amounted to 181.9 thousand or 36 times the volume of the local population. The main passenger arrivals were from Britain (39.7%), Italy (19.4%), Germany (7.5%), Sweden (7.2%), Norway (4.5%), while from Serbia, Netherland and Denmark represents 3.5% each. In July and August, 54% of the annual arrivals by air are recorded. About 19,7% of the arrivals are recorded in June, 14.2% in September and 11.8% in May. The tourist season extends these 5 months were 99,5% of arrivals at the airport are recorded and demonstrates the seasonal character of tourism and the dependence of tourism on summer and the sea.

Apart from the airport, the main gateways to the islands are the ports and the ferry connections with mainland Greece and mainly from Volos, Thessaloniki and Kymi. The passenger ferry arrivals on the three islands in the year 2019 were a total of 418,762. More specifically, 198,707 passengers arrived in Skiathos throughout the year, 154,519 in Skopelos and 65,536 in Alonnisos. Based on these data the arrivals by air and see (without cruises passengers) in Skiathos in 2019 amounted 404.5 thousand travelers, which represent 81 times the population of the island of Skiathos.

The need to establish a tourism observatory lies in the fact that for the planning of a sustainable development there must be real data and not irreal. A typical example, that the official data are incorrect, are the recorded overnight stays on the islands, which are referred in the official studies and publications of the Region of Thessaly (2015), but also of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO, 2003 p. 16). Particularly according to the official data of the statistical service (, the nights spend in the three islands of the Sporades during the period 2000 to 2019 presented a total increase of 51% reaching in 2019 of 872.9 thousand, of which 588 thousand in the island of Skiathos, 187.3 thousand in Skopelos and only 97.6 thousand in Alonnisos. It is interesting that during the same period the recorded overnight stays of Greeks decreased by 16.3% while that of foreigners increased by 81%.

If we compare the official data of the nights spend in the Sporades islands, to the data of the arrivals in the islands of the Northern Sporades, it is estimated that in a total of 600 thousand arrivals by planes and ships (excluding domestic air arrivals) correspond to only 872,886 nights, which results an average of 1.4 nights per arrival. If we assume that another 870 thousand nights are spent in supplementary accommodation, the average stay of tourists will be 2.8 nights, which is also not realistic. The small number of declared overnights is because the accommodation establishments in Greece for tax reasons do not declare the actual tourist demand and overnights.

Making a first correlation between the official tourist data, the local population and the area of the Sporades islands, the following indexes are calculated.


Table 1: Tourism in relation to the population and the area of Sporades islands.

Sporades Islands

Population (13798)

Area in Km2 (275,8)

Hotel Beds


0,79 Hotel bed/citizen

39,60 Hotel bed/Km2

Estimated Beds capacity in total (20000)

1,45 Hotel beds/citizen

72,52 Hotel beds/Km2

Arrivals Ship


30,35 Ship passengers/citizen

1518,35 Ship passengers/Km2

Arrivals Air


15,11 Air passengers/citizen

755,94 Air passengers/Km2

Total Arrivals


45,46 Travelers/citizen

2274,29 Travelers/Km2



63,26 Overnights/citizen

3164,92 Overnights/Km2



5 Sustainability indicators and Tourism

Butler (1999:20) wrote that “the greatest research need is to develop measures of sustainability and to apply these to existing and new forms of tourism development to help determine what affects sustainability and how it can be achieved”. Applying a sustainable tourism in practice is not easy, especially when it should be functional to all types of tourism making them more environmentally, socially and economically beneficial. The “Four Clusters of Criteria” for Sustainable Tourism according to Ecological Tourism in Europe (2009), are (1) Community well-being. (2) Protection of the natural and cultural environment. (3) Product quality and tourist satisfaction. (4) Management and monitoring.

A common practice is to use an indicator system for designing and implementing tourism models that focuses on the sustainability approach. Indicators are considered as useful tools that allow tourism managers to diagnose the situation of the destination, and to identify and evaluate issues that require addressing to improve the level of sustainability of the tourist activities (Lozano-Oyolaa et al., 2012). In 1995, the WTO published the guide that has probably oriented most recent indicators – “What Tourism Managers Need to Know: A Practical Guide to the Development and Use of Indicators of Sustainable Tourism” (WTO, 1995) – which was updated in 2004 as the Guidebook on Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations (WTO, 2004).

In this context, studies have been conducted in many countries and regions, applying a different number of indicators. For example, in the Balearic Island 50 indicators, in the Canary Islands 9 indicators, in the Samoan Islands 20 indicators, in the Caribbean Region 14 indicators (WTO, 2004). In the same approach, other agencies used indicators for sustainable tourism, such as the European Environmental Agency (2004) by using 11 indicators, the Office Fédérale de la Statistique in Switzerland (OFS, 2007), by using 20 indicators.

The number of indicators to assess the sustainability of tourism remained unclear (Cernat, L., 2012). According to the Guidebook of World Tourism Organization (2004) about 12 to 24 indicators are accepted to be optimal, and the Indicators must be (1) Relevance of the indicator to the selected issue. (2) Feasibility of obtaining and analyzing the needed information. (3) Credibility of the information and reliability for users of the data. (4) Clarity and understandability to users. (5) Comparability over time and across jurisdictions or regions. Other researchers such as Sors (2001) claims that 20 to 50 indicators are quite enough. However, most researchers try to cover as many aspects of the impact of tourism development on the economy, the society, and the environment as possible, thus exaggerating the number of surveyed indicators.

In 2013, the European Commission launched ETIS (EC, 2016). This system is a management tool, created for monitoring and measuring the sustainable tourism performance of destinations, by using a common comparable approach. It is based on 27 core indicators and 40 optional indicators, subdivided into four categories: (1) destination management; (2) social and cultural impact; (3) economic value and (4) environmental impact.

The use of sustainable tourism indicators (STI) raises several issues, mainly because of the multiple interpretations of the concept of sustainable development, and by extension of the concept of sustainable tourism. It is well recognized that developing a system of indicators is a difficult task. Moreover, although it is recognized that each region should have its own indicators, which are legitimized by the uniqueness of each territory, we believe that such an approach risks ignoring – in whole or in part – the basic principles of sustainable tourism for political purposes (Tanguay, Rajaonson & Therrien, 2012).

According to Lozano-Oyolaa et al. (2012) many indicator systems usually do not provide a practical guide to establish how to interpret information and how to integrate it into the decision-making. Therefore, it is very important that the indicators, based on the theoretical background, should have a practical application, considering the specifics of each region. In addition, the Proposals need to strike a balance between their Contextual specificity and their global relevance. Thus, the challenge in developing sustainable tourism indicators is achieving coverage not only of local impacts but also of global issues, such as climate change and the way in which the expanding sector and increased tourist mobility impact on it.” (Torres & Saarinen, 2014)

Various sets of indicators have been developed in tourism research. Indicators of sustainable development in tourism can be the Public participation, the consumption of Water and Energy, the Waste, the Accessibility, the Investments, the Promotion of ecotourism, the Economic vitality, the Employment, the Security and safety the Satisfaction, the Traffic and many others.

A compilation study also showed that the indicators of the various entities already correspond to several indicators suggested by UNWTO (2004) or the European Tourism Indicator System ETIS (EC, 2016). However, despite the existence of several indicators for each issue, or even the need to create new indicators, it is not always possible to match expectations to reality, either because of the lack of updating data over the years or due to the lack of it. (Farinha, et al. 2019).

In the study of  Tanguay, Rajaonson & Therrien (2012) the most used indicators (in 16 researched case studies), was the water and energy consumption in the tourism sector, the volume of tourists, the occupancy rate of the main accommodation and restaurants, the level of tourist satisfaction, the level of satisfaction of the local population, the number of tourists per km2, the existence of a tourism plan for the community, the number of people encroaching on vulnerable sites, the ratio between tourists and local population at cultural events, the rate of new real estate developments intended for tourism, the rate of jobs in the tourism sector held by local residents, the average stay of tourists, the rate of return visits of tourists, the total number of tourist arrivals (annual average and in high season), the volume of waste recycled, the rate of revenues generated by tourism in the community, the local population working in the tourism sector, the spending by tourists and other less common.

Although the large number of indicators makes research difficult, most observatories record many parameters and measure too many indicators. One of the most recent observatories is the Observatory of Sustainability of the Algarve Region for Tourism (OBSERVE) indicators, which records a total of 64 indicators, to assure most of the relevant information (Farinha et al. 2019).


6 The sustainable tourism observatory in the Sporades Islands

6.1. Methodology and indicators

According to the Guidebook for municipalities in Greece, the formulation of policies for tourism development should be based on a volume of reliable information about the tourism of the region and market trends, which can be provided by a special structure, such as the Tourism Observatory (EETAA, 2020). The Observatory in the Sporades will function as the first level of collection and analysis of information regarding tourism activity and its trends (supply and demand), its results and effects on the destination as well as the factors that influence these developments. The information gathered will be useful for the managers and planners of the destinations and which will be used for decision making at the business and destination level, as it will provide the possibility of trans-spatial and trans-temporal comparisons. The Tourism Observatory aspires to be a member of the Global Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories.

The collection of data through the observatory will be oriented in two directions:

• First in the direction of Sustainable tourism development, by recording the impact of Tourism on Society, the Economy and the Environment

• And Secondly in the direction of recording the Tourism Trends towards the specific destination.

Regarding the indicators of sustainable tourism, methodologically the observatory was based on the DPSIR model (Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact and Response model of intervention) of the European Environment Agency, which joined the PSR and DSR systems together (Julie C., 2001). This model is based on the concept of causality, i.e. that human activities create pressures on the environment and change its quality, but also the quantity of natural resources. Society responds to these changes with appropriate policies and reduces the pressures of human activities. The DPSIR analysis framework consists of five components. Social and economic development (Driving forces) are the primary causes of Pressure in the environment. As a result, the State of the environment changes and so does their ability to support demand. Changes on the state of the environment can have an Impact on human health, ecosystems, etc. The effects lead to the necessity of taking Measures (Response of intervention) to deal with them, which accordingly have a direct effect on the driving forces, the pressures on the environment, as well as on the state of the environment.

This methodological approach is becoming more and more applicable in recent years. For example, the study of Torres-Delgado and Palomeque (2014) develops and applied for 20 tourism municipalities in Catalonia, a consensual indicator system adapted to the tourism sector by including 26 indicators of social, economic and environmental sustainability. According to Torres-Delgado and Palomeque (2014), the results confirmed the proposed system as an effective tool for planning and managing tourism at municipal level.

In the case of the Sporades islands, the availability of data, the possibility of finding, the peculiarities of the region but also the comparability with other similar studies were additionally considered. Making the required adjustment the following table has been drawn up of 32 indicators, of which 9 concerning the Sociocultural dimension, 13 the Economic dimension and 10 the Environmental dimension.


Table 2: Sustainable tourism indicators using by the Tourism Observatory in the Sporades Islands


1.Sociocultural Dimension (9)

2. Economic Dimension (13)

3.Environmental Dimension (10)

Α. Cause of



A1.1 Tourists population

A1.2 The origin of tourists

Α.1.3 Means of transportations

Α2.1 Seasonality

Α2.2 Travel organization


A3.1 Energy consumption

A3.2 Water Consumption

A3.3 Volume of waste



B. Pressure

Indicators (5)

B1.1 Image of the region

Β2.1 Accommodation capacity

Β2.2 Holiday residence

B2.3 Overnights

Β3.1 Potential human pressure on natural and urban spaces

C. State

Indicators (7)

C1.1 Resident population

C1.2 Tourism attraction and resources

C2.1 Transport access

C2.2 Basic infrastructure and services

C2.3 Tourist businesses

C2.4 Local Properties

C3.1 Distribution of land uses

D. Impact

Indicators (6)

D1.1 Degree of satisfaction of tourist

D1.2 Degree of satisfaction of residents

D2.1 Tourist expenditure

D2.2 Employment in tourism

D2.3 Prices of tourist services

D3.1 Tourist anthropisation factor

E. Response

Indicators (6)

E1.1 Accessibility to tourist services


Ε2.1 Public investment in tourism

Ε3.1 Waste management

Ε3.2 Environmentally certified enterprises and premises

Ε3.3 Integration of environmental criteria into tourism planning

Ε3.4 Participation of local stockholders in tourism planning


A first implementation of the DPSIR model in the Sporades islands was attempted in 2013 (Doxopoulos, 2013), based only on secondary data. In this system were finally 38 indicators selected, of which 16 were social indicators (S), 6 economic indicators (Ec) and 16 environmental indicators (E).


6.2. Collecting of data for Indicators and the tourism trends

For the Sustainable Tourism Indicators, the Tourism Observatory will collect secondary and primary data. The collection of primary data will be carried out in four areas of research: (1) in accommodation facilities in reference areas, (2) in other tourism enterprises, (3) research on Destination mainly in tourism planning agencies and Destination Management Organizations (DMO) and (4) Survey of tourists through online questionnaires. The website through which the questionnaires are available in

The recording of market trends indicators will be done through third-party tools and search engines. Some of them are:

• Measuring of searches for the Sporades Islands as a tourist destination, through Search Engines: recording keywords to search for destinations at different intervals.

• Search for the Islands through price comparison systems (collaboration with Lybra RMS): recording and analysis of price trends in total, through business intelligence systems.

• Measuring of searches for Skiathos and Almyros airports. With these data it will be possible to record which demand the destination has and from which countries. It can also record the change in the search (desire) for the destination.

• Reservations and Cancellations (collaboration with Hotel Availabilities Channel Manager, BookOnlineNow Booking Engine, Tour Operators, etc.)

This analysis will be done at regular intervals, so that the companies of the destination have a very good picture of the prevailing trends, the formation of demand.



7 Conclusions

The relationship between tourism development and environmental protection, but also the related socio-economic implications, has been a field of research and practical approach, at least since the 1970s. In this regard, the record of tourism growth through establishments such as the tourism observatories suggested by the World Tourism Organization, are a useful tool. The Tourism Observatory of the Northern Sporades Islands aims to provide realistic and objective measurements for the estimation of sustainable tourism indicators. The practical implications of the estimated indicators in the Socio-Cultural, Economic and Environmental dimension, will be the support of the destination stakeholders to take focused and coherent action in tourism planning for a sustainable development. Based on the measurements, the related Tourism indexes can be calculated, demonstrating the grad of the tourism development, as they are given in the following table.


Table 3. Resulted Tourism indexes for the Sporades Islands.

Socio-cultural Tourism Indexes

The Average length of stay,

The Tourist Arrivals Index (Arrivals per Population),

The Tourism Intensity Index (Overnight stays per Population).

Tourist density ration (Nights spends / Population)

The Tourism Saturation Index (Overnight stays per Season in days X Population)

The Tourism Arrival Saturation Index (Tourist arrivals per Season in days X Population)

Occupancy rate Indicator, (Overnight stays per Available capacity X operating days)

The Employment Index (Employees in tourism per Total employment in the area)

Defert Index (Beds per Population Χ 100),

The Tourist Penetration Index (Overnight stays per Km2)

Economic tourism Indexes

The average per capita expenditure as in total or per country of origin

The average employment per bed or per tourist arrival

The Seasonality of operation and employment

The ratio of local businesses and entrepreneurs

In the environmental dimension can be calculated:

Energy consumption per overnight stay or per bed

Water Consumption per overnight stay or per bed

Waste generation per overnight stay or per bed

The Structured surface and the free spaces towards the whole surface

Environmental planning

Percentage of environmentally certified tourist companies



The above results will be monitored over time and will be a measure of comparison with other tourist destinations at national and international level. At the same time, they will be tools for problem identification and will help in the planning of a sustainable tourism development in the region.




Butler, R. W. (1999). Sustainable tourism: A state-of-the-art review. Tourism Geographies, 1(1), 7–25.

CIHEAM - IAMC. Centre International de Hautes études agronomiques méditerranéennes.  Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania. Available in:

Cernat, L. & Gourdon, J. (2012). Paths to success: Benchmarking cross-country sustainable tourism. Tour. Manag. 2012, 33, 1044–1056.

Dahkal, S., Imura, H., 2003. Policy-based indicators systems: emerging debates and lessons. Local Environ. 8, 113–119.

Doxopoulos G. (2013). Indicators of tourism development. The case of Sporades. M.Sc. Thesis at the Aristoteles University of Thessaloniki. Available at DOXOPOULOStmxa.pdf

EC (2016). The European Tourism Indicator System. ETIS Toolkit for Sustainable Destination Management; EC: St Julian’s, Malta, 2016.

Ecological Tourism in Europe (ETE) 2009. Criteria for sustainable tourism. Available at Accessed 3/5/2021

EETAA (2020). Tourist Planning and Promotion. Guidebook for municipalities. Hellenic Agency for Local Development and Local Government. Athens

European Environment Agency (1999). Environmental indicators: typology and overview. Technical Report No 25, Copenhagen.

European Environmental Agency (2004). European Environment Agency core set of indicators: letter on consultation process on proposal, proposals for a core set of indicators. Retrieved from

Fátima Farinha, Miguel José Oliveira, Elisa M. J. Silva, Rui Lança, Manuel Duarte Pinheiro and Cátia Miguel (2019). Selection Process of Sustainable Indicators for the Algarve Region—OBSERVE Project. Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 444; –

GNTO (2003). Tourism development study for the Region of Thessaly. B’ Phase. Greek National Tourism organization. Paloumpis D. & Sidiropoulos K. Athens.

Hejl, E., Riedl, H. & Weingarter, H. (1999) Cretaceous Palaeokarst and Cenozoic Erosion of the North Sporades (Greece): Results from Geomorphological Studies and Fission-Track Analysis. Mitteilungen Österreichischer Geologischer Gesellschaft. 90 (1997) s. 67-82. ISSN 0251-7493

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (2019). Hotel capacity in Greece 31 Dec 2019. Available in:

INSTO. World Tourism Organization. International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories. Available in:

Julie, C., (2001). Philosophy: What can you do with it? What can you do without it! CobolReport.Com, January 2001

Lozano-Oyolaa, Μ., Blancasa F.J., Gonzálezb, Caballerob R. (2012). Sustainable tourism indicators as planning tools in cultural destinations. Ecological Indicators 18 (2012) 659–675.

OFS (Office Fédérale de la Statistique). (2007). Les indicateurs du d´eveloppement durable dans le tourisme. Suisse. Retrieved from

Region of Thessaly (2015). 2nd Operational program of the Thessaly region. Phase A, Strategic planning. (

Sors, J. Catherine (2001). Measuring Progress Towards Sustainable Development in Venice: A Comparative Assessment of Methods and Approaches. SSRN Electron. J. 2001.

Tanguary Georges Antoni, Rajaonson, Juste & Therrien Marie-Christine (2012). Sustainable Tourism Indicators: Selection Criteria for Policy Implementation and Scientific Recognition. Journal of Sustainable Tourism · October 2012. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.1948674

Torres-Delgado, Anna & Palomeque, Francesc López (2014). Measuring sustainable tourism at the municipal level. Annals of Tourism Research, Volume 49, Pages 122-137, ISSN 0160-7383,

Torres-Delgado, Anna & Jarkko Saarinen (2014). Using indicators to assess sustainable tourism development: a review. Tourism Geographies, 16:1, 31-47, DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2013.867530. Link to this article:

Trivourea M., Karamanlidis A.A., Tounta E., Dendrinos P., Kotomatas S. (2011). People and the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus): A Study of the Socioeconomic Impacts of the National Marine Park of Alonnisos, Northern Sporades, Greece. Aquatic Mammals 37(3):305-318305. DOI: 10.1578/AM.37.3.2011.305

Velissariou, E., Belias, D. and Raptopoulos, L. (2020). Advantages & disadvantages of all-inclusive holidays for tourist and Hotels:Case study in all-inclusive Hotel-resorts in the island of Skiathos, Greece. Journal of Tourism & Management Research. ISSN: 2149-6528. 2020 Vol. 5, Issue.3

World Tourism Organization (1995). What tourism managers need to know: A practical guide to the development and use of indicators of sustainable tourism. Madrid.

World Tourism Organization (2004). Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations: A Guidebook; World Tourism Organization: Madrid, Spain, 2004; ISBN 92-844-0726-5.