Innovative Biotourism Actions in Ierapetra – Crete

funding by Green Fund

About the Project

Project title: Nature and Innovative actions in Biotourism – Municipality of Ierapetra
Programme: Nature and innovative actions
Axis: A2. Environmental protection, / A.2.7. Development of innovative policies and actions for the sustainable management of areas with special environmental interest located outside urban areas
Objective: Innovative actions with citizens
Sub-objective: Actions for information, awareness-raising and training of the general public
and/or special target groups

Budget: 50,000 Euros
Funding: Green Fund
Beneficiary: Biopolitics International Organisation,
Associate partner: “Environment” Organisation of the Municipality of Ierapetra


The Biopolitics International Organisation (B.I.O.) and the Environmental Department of the Municipality of Ierapetra ( on the island of Crete are cooperating in a project themed “Natural environment and innovative action” for the promotion and protection of the unique natural heritage of the region. Funded by the Green Fund (a financial instrument of the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy –, the project aims to develop and apply the concept of biotourism as an innovative approach for sustainable regional and rural management.

The implementation of the project is well underway and is expected to be completed by February 2019.

Ierapetra – a leading biotourism destination
Ierapetra is located in the southwestern part of the Prefecture of Lasithi. A region of outstanding natural beauty, it features exceptional environmental assets, as well as several NATURA 2000 protected areas, including, among others: the island of Chrysi (also known as Gaidouronisi), a land studded with cedar trees and golden beaches, and home to more than 120 species of migratory birds; the valley of Selakano, one of the most impressive pine forest habitats in the Mediterranean; and the wetlands of Lake Bramiana, considered among the most important rest stops for migratory birds in Southern Europe. The region also boasts striking gorges and caves with amazing geological formations, as well as magnificent forests and imposing mountain ranges.

Severe environmental pressures, especially during the summer months, threaten the stability and survival of these most precious ecosystems. Studies show that there is a growing need for awareness and education on the rational utilization of natural resources, as well as for the development of mechanisms that can ensure the effective prevention, monitoring and control of negative environmental impacts.

Biotourism – a new development model
Biotourism – tourism that respects bios (life) and the environment – is an innovative development model for the management of areas of exceptional natural beauty and an important dimension for the future. Based on the sustainable management of natural resources, biotourism promotes positive synergies between economic and social development by linking tourism to other vital sectors such as culture, education, commerce, fishing, farming and agriculture. Moreover, by caring for the environment, biotourism improves the very nature of the tourism product and increases the development potential of the region. It also dampens the negative effects of mass tourism and provides new and enhanced opportunities for economic growth and environmental protection. Key to this effort is the development of synergies among citizens and local authorities.


  • Deploying Biotourism as an innovative environmental strategy for the development of the region
  • Increasing awareness of the region’s unique environmental assets among local residents and visitors
  • Revising the tourism product with the aim of mitigating the environmental pressures of mass tourism
  • Inspiring new dimensions for social and cultural entrepreneurship



  • Action 1:  Infokiosk at the center of Ierapetra
  • Action 2: Development of a cell phone application for biotourism
  • Action 3: Six-week e-learning training course
  • Action 4: Biotourism guide (printed version and e-book) in English and Greek
  • Action 5: Biotourism map in English and Greek
  • Action 6. Three videos in English and Greek
  • Action 7: Conference and press conference in Ierapetra
  • Action 8: Cultural Exhibition in Ierapetra


The Project also involves multiple dissemination activities, media releases (in Greece and abroad) and photographic material, to raise awareness of current environmental challenges and to promote Ierapetra as a leading biotourism destination.


Publications – Exploring Ierapetra

A guide and map promoting the amazing biodiversity of rural Ierapetra developed for the project on “Nature & Environment – Innovative Biotourism Actions in Ierapetra, Crete.”

Click here for:

Ierapetra Biotourism Guide

Ierapetra Biotourism Map page 1

Ierapetra Biotourism Map page 2

Info flyer in Greek and in English


afte (2)Artists for the Environment is an environmental movement established by the Biopolitics International Organisation. It promotes positive environmental change and encourages artists (both professionals and amateurs) to use their art as a vehicle for environmental awareness.

OpenArt Exhibit – Ierapetra, Crete, 5-10 September 2018
In the framework of the project “Nature and Innovative Actions in Biotourism – Municipality of Ierapetra,” the Biopolitics International Organisation, in cooperation with the “Environment” Organization of the Municipality of Ierapetra, will be hosting an ΟpenArt Exhibition themed “Nature in Ierapetra.” The exhibition will be taking place at the Ottoman Mosque, from 5 to 10 September 2018, and aims to motivate both visitors and the local community to protect Ierapetra’s unique natural heritage. Participants will include representatives from various creative fields (photography, painting, sculpture, comics, etc.), who will showcase ways of using Art as a means of raising environmental awareness globally.

To Artists for the Environment (Καλλιτέχνες για το Περιβάλλον) είναι ένα περιβαλλοντικό κίνημα που δημιουργήθηκε από τη Διεθνή Οργάνωση Βιοπολιτικής. Βασίζεται στη δύναμη της θετικής περιβαλλοντικής αλλαγής μέσω της τέχνης, ενθαρρύνοντας τους καλλιτέχνες (επαγγελματίες και ερασιτέχνες) να συνδράμουν στην περιβαλλοντική ευαισθητοποίηση.

Πολιτιστική Έκθεση στην Ιεράπετρα, 5-10 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018
Στα πλαίσια του έργου «Φυσικό περιβάλλον και Καινοτόμες δράσεις στον Βιοτουρισμό – Δήμος Ιεράπετρας», η Διεθνής Οργάνωση Βιοπολιτικής, σε συνεργασία με το Ν.Π.Δ.Δ. «Περιβάλλον» του Δήμου Ιεράπετρας, διοργανώνει πολιτιστική έκθεση με θέμα τη «Γεραπετρίτικη Φύση». Η πρωτότυπη αυτή έκθεση θα λάβει χώρα στο Τζαμί Ιεράπετρας από τις 5 έως τις 10 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018. Πρόκειται για μια πρωτοβουλία που θα χρησιμοποιήσει την τέχνη ως μέσο περιβαλλοντικής ευαισθητοποίησης με στόχο την κινητοποίηση της τοπικής κοινωνίας και των επισκεπτών του τόπου για την προστασία του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος. Στην έκθεση θα λάβουν μέρος εκπρόσωποι από πολλούς καλλιτεχνικούς χώρους (φωτογραφία, ζωγραφική, γλυπτική, κόμικς κ.α.) από την Ελλάδα και το εξωτερικό.

Call for entries ( pdf ~ 1mb)

Πρόσκληση Συμμετοχής (pdf ~ 1MB)