Is Climate Change a threat to Tourism?

Climate Change Conference Organized by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism and CSTI

Thursday, October 19, 2023, 9:30 am - 2:00 pm (EEST)

Dr. George ZIttis

Associate Research Scientist, Climate and Atmosphere Research Center, The
Cyprus Institute

Dr. George Zittis is a Researcher at the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center of the Cyprus Institute. With a background in Meteorology, Climatology and environmental sciences, he is one of the pioneers of climate change research in Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean. He has over 60 publications in scientific journals, book chapters and reports. He has participated in numerous research projects and scientific panels on climate change and its impacts on the broader region. He collaborates with and consults several governmental and scientific departments on the projections and effects of climate change in Cyprus.

Kathrin Möllers

Group´s Director Sustainability & ESG, TUI Group

Kathrin Möllers is TUI Group´s Director Sustainability & ESG. She began her career at TUI in 2014 as a consultant in project and process management, later taking on various management positions in TUI’s international airline organisation. Before taking over the role as Director Sustainability & ESG, she was Head of Aircraft Asset & Business Management. In recent years,
Kathrin Möllers has worked intensively on the topics of change, digitalisation and sustainability at TUI and successfully managed and implemented strategic transformation processes

Elke Dens

 Director of Global Programmes, Travel Foundation

Elke Dens is the global director of programs of NGO The Travel Foundation. She develops programs around climate and equity for destinations around the globe.

Previously she was marketing director of Visit Flanders and chair of the marketing group of The European Travel Commission.

She teaches tourism and marketing. She recently published a book about the transition in tourism, but most of all she’s one of the best marketers in tourism, awarded Marketeer of the Year in 2019 pushing marketers to lead the transition in their field.


Dr. Phoebe Koundouri

Professor, Athens University of Economics and Business & Technical
University of Denmark, President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource
Economists (EAERE), Chair of UN SDSN Global Climate Hub, Co-Chair of SDSN Europe

Phoebe Koundouri is Professor in Economics and Director of ReSEES Laboratory at the School of Economics of the Athens University of Economics and Business, part-time Research Professor at the Department of Technology, Management and Economics at the Technical University of Denmark – DTU, and Director of the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU)  at ATHENA Information Technology Research Center. She holds a MPhil and a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge, and has held academic positions at the University of Cambridge, University College London, University of Reading, and London School of Economics.  She is recognized as a pioneer in innovative, human-centric, interdisciplinary systems for the sustainable interaction between nature, society, and the economy. She has published 15 books and more than 600 scientific papers, co-edited a number of prestigious academic journals, organized numerous international scientific conferences, supervised more than 30 PhD students, and gave keynote speeches and public lectures across the world. In 2019, she was elected President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE) and she is now chairing the World Council of Environmental and Natural Resource Economists Associations (WCERE). She is the director of the Alliance of Excellence for Research and Innovation on Aeiphoria (AE4RIA), linking the research and innovation work of 5 research centers, 5 innovations accelerators and numerous science-policy networks, with more than 200 researchers and 100 large interdisciplinary competitively funded projects involved (with applications in more than 120 countries). She is chair of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Global Climate Hub and co-chair of SDSN Europe, with 2000 universities involved. She is elected member of Academia Europaea (European Academy of Science), the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, the World Academy of Art and Science, and member of the InterAcademy Partnership Board. She is commissioner for the Lancet Commission on COVID19 Recovery and invited member of the Program on Fraternal Economy of Integral and Sustainable Development of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In 2022 she received the prestigious European Research Council Synergy Grant and in 2023, she was awarded the Academy of Athens Excellence in Science Award, awarded every four years. She is member of the Nominating Committee for the Prize in Economics Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science.


Dr. Christos Giannakopoulos

Research Director, Institute of Enviromental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory Athens

Dr. Giannakopoulos is Research Director at the National Observatory of Athens. His research focuses on climate change modeling of extremes and impacts on various sectors such as energy demand, health, agriculture, tourism, forest fires as well as on global chemical transport models. He was lead author of IPCC 4th Assessment Report (2007) on Climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. He is Principal Investigator in several major climate change related EU projects (LIFE ADAPT2CLIMA, URBANPROOF, TERRACESCAPE, H2020 MED-GOLD, SOCLIMPACT, and COPERNICUS Climate Change Service for Tourism).  He is Member of the Climate Change Impacts Study Committee formed by the Bank of Greece to study the consequences of climate change and has co-authored the national adaptation strategy for Greece. He is the IPCC National Focal point as well as representative of the Mission on Adaptation Sub-Group of the Horizon Europe Shadow Program Committee. He is the author of over 90 peer-reviewed papers and over 100 publications in conference proceedings.

Dr. Nicoletta Kythreotou

Department of Environment

Dr. Kythreotou is an Environment Officer A’ and leading the Climate Action and Energy Unit at the Department of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment.

Nicoletta holds a Mechanical Engineering PhD from Brunel University in the UK (2014). She also holds an MSc in Environmental Engineering from Imperial College London (2003) while her BSc was on Environmental Science from Lancaster University in the UK (2002).

During Cyprus’ presidency of the European Union (2012), Nicoletta coordinated the European Working Party for International Environmental Issues on Climate Change.

Nicoletta is the National Focal Point of Cyprus to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is also responsible for:

  • The coordination of the preparation of annual national greenhouse gas emissions inventory and projections
  • Coordination of the implementation and monitoring of the National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030
  • Coordination of the implementation and monitoring of the National Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan
  • Participating in processes for the harmonization of Cyprus with the European Union in the fields of climate change and environment

Dr. Kythreotou has also participated in a number of private, governmental and European projects related to environmental and climate change issues. She has also participated in national, regional and international conventions, committees and conferences related to climate change and environment, and actively contributed to environmental awareness-raising, sensitisation and education of the public.

Actions speak louder than words! 

Because we would like our actions to inspire others and make this planet as sustainable as possible, we decided to make the Climate Change Conference we organized in cooperation with the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, on 19 October 2023, a Sustainable Conference. 

What did we do? We organised a paperless, plastic free, zero waste conference!  

  • Electronic invitations and registration forms 
  • Recycling bins in the hall  
  • Chose to use a water station for the participants that provided cold and filtered water instead of using plastic bottles. 
  • A reusable water bottle was chosen as a gift for delegates to reduce the use of plastic bottles, both during the conference and in the daily lives of the delegates. When the flask has completed its life cycle, it can be recycled at large metal recycling facilities. 
  • Food services were chosen that did not use plastic items for either serving food or drinks, utilization of local products was made to reduce the ecological footprint and leftover food was offered to charities so that there was no waste of food. 
  • Cypriot trees were used to decorate the conference hall, which will be planted at a later stage. 
  • One tree will be planted for each delegate at the event. The planting will be held in collaboration with the Office of the Environment Commissioner and the Municipality of Aglantzia during the volunteering week. The trees will be provided by the Forestry Department.   
  • For the panel discussion, we used upcycling chairs. Each is chair made from 25 kg of recyclable plastic. A total of 175 kg of recyclable plastic was used, plastic that might have ended up in our seas.  
  • The original plan was to use public transport for speakers, but due to the uncertainties in the region, low emission taxis were used.  
  • A bus was used to transport students to and from the Conference Centre to reduce emissions.  
  • The delegates were encouraged to share their cars on the way to the conference in to reduce emissions from individual car use.  

The cherry on the cake was when the lady responsible for the cleaning of the conference centre  came to us and said: “I would like to thank you, this is the first time ever that the centre was so clean after an event.” 

Any other idea on how to organise our next event even more sustainable is more than welcome.  

The challenges along the way have been many, but our will to change this world has been greater. 



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