Sustainable Destination Management Plans for the Greek islands of Rhodes and Santorini


European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – in cooperation with The Ministry of Tourism and the Greek Tourism Confederation.

The challenge:

In April 2019, EBRD, with financial support from the EU, commissioned three tourism consultancies (TEAM, Toposophy and Yellow Railroad) to prepare Destination Management Plans (DMPs) for the islands of Rhodes and Santorini, together with a Guide to the Preparation of DMPs, to be used as the basis for tourism planning in other Greek destinations. The primary purpose of the project was to create a clear vision for sustainable tourism development and identify priorities for destination management in each island.  The EBRD specified that the plans should be designed to:

  • Maximise destination performance (e.g. visitor spending, longevity of tourist season) and develop solutions to avoid or minimise negative impacts of tourism
  • Facilitate the development of experiences that meet visitor needs and expectations, reflect the destination vision and brand and facilitate the elements of a journey within a destination
  • Engage local stakeholders and communities in shaping the future of their destination.

Services provided:

The key components of each DMP were:

  • The Strategic Aim, encapsulating the reasons for developing tourism in the destination.
  • The Vision, painting a picture of the way stakeholders and residents would like to see tourism and the destination evolve in the years ahead.
  • The High-Level Objectives, identifying key quantifiable outcomes to be achieved, to be used as a basis for measurement of overall destination performance.
  • The Strategic Priorities, setting out the primary focus for attention by the stakeholders. For Rhodes and Santorini, these priorities related to the long-term sustainability of the destination, maximising the value of tourism, extending the season, tourism management, enhancing the visitor experience, brand repositioning, spreading tourism benefits more widely and conserving the quality of the built and natural environment.
  • The Action Plan, setting out the actions required to achieve the Strategic Priorities and the organisations that would need to be involved.
  • The Governance Options for DMP Implementation – three in each case.

More detailed Action Plans were prepared for Marketing and for Experience Development. Following on from the completion of the two DMPs, the consultants prepared a Guide to Destination Management Planning, explaining the methodology used in Rhodes and Santorini, in a way that it can be applied easily in other Greek destinations.


The reports were submitted to the Ministry of Tourism, the South Aegean Regional Authority and the Municipalities for Rhodes and Santorini to review and arrange implementation.  Also, presentations about the work and the methodology adopted were held Chania and Corfu with a view to the possibility of DMPs being prepared for those two destinations.

On a national basis, this project provided the basis for preparation of a set of well researched, consistent DMPs for all major destinations across Greece, in alignment with national tourism policies.  These would provide strong foundations for success in optimising the economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits of tourism to Greece.