World Tourism Day 2023: Are there sea turtle-friendly hotels in north Crete?

In 2023, World Tourism Day finds ARCHELON implementing together with TUI Care Foundation an innovative idea on the north coasts of Crete: a pilot certification for sea turtle-friendly hotels (the TUI Turtle-Friendly Tourism Certification) that aims to promote the protection of sea turtles and their habitats with the active participation of the tourism sector.

But why is tourism important to sea turtles?

“Scientific evidence shows that female loggerhead hatchlings will return as adults to nest at the same beaches they hatched from”, says the president of ARCHELON, Thomas Arapis. “So, in what condition will these beaches be in 15-20 years from now, when this year’s hatchlings will come back to nest?” he wonders.

A sea turtle hatchling going to the water for the first time

ARCHELON has been actively monitoring the sea turtle nesting beaches in Zakynthos, Kyparissia Bay, Lakonikos Bay, Rethymno, Chania, and Messara Bay for 40 years now. Most of these areas that are surveyed daily by volunteers every summer, are affected by tourism, while Zakynthos and Crete have become top global tourist destinations.

In an effort to reduce the impact of tourism on the nesting beaches, ARCHELON carries out public awareness actions through presentations in hotels and at the ARCHELON Information Stations. For example, from May to August around 10,200 visitors were informed by volunteers/researchers about the protection of sea turtles in Rethymno and learned how turtles and tourists can live together. However, observations of intense human activity on nesting beaches lead to the conclusion that there can be no future for sea turtles without a more active involvement of the tourism sector. This is where this new hotel certification comes in to help.

The informational kiosk in Rethymno with ARCHELON volunteers

The purpose of the TUI Turtle-Friendly Tourism Certification is to encourage sustainable development in tourism, by providing guidelines for businesses on the nesting beaches, and helping tourists make environmentally friendly choices when it comes to their accommodation and excursions. The main criteria that the hotels must meet are (a) that sunbeds are removed from the beach at night so that there is enough space for the 'mother' turtles to make their nests and (b) the lights of the hotels would not be visible from the beach so that the hatchlings do not get disoriented on their way to the sea.


The "TUI Turtle Aid Greece" project by TUI Care Foundation and ARCHELON began with the cooperation of 2 hotels in Rethymno this summer and is expected to be extended to Chania in the following years. In collaboration with the sustainable tourism consulting company Ecoclub S.A., the project is expected to support and guide selected hotels in the process of implementing the new certification.

Copy of Logo stacked with white background.jpg



    Amvrakikos Project 2024: Special Call for a Field Leader

    ARCHELON is looking for a highly motivated person to lead its project in Amvrakikos Gulf, one of the few foraging sites for loggerhead turtles in Greece linking several populations nesting across the Mediterranean region.

    Read more

    Τhe nesting of loggerhead sea turtles started earlier this year and the effects of the climate crisis on the oceans are worrying

    For the first time, in the 40 years of ARCHELON records, the first sea turtle nest was found in Laganas Gulf, Zakythos on May 10th. Scientific predictions of the nesting season moving earlier in the spring due to climate change are being confirmed.

    Read more

    Save Turtles, See Greece on a Budget

    Dreaming of pristine Greek beaches and a chance to make a real difference? Here's why June and September are the perfect months to volunteer with sea turtle conservation efforts in Greece!

    Read more

    Sea Turtle Festival for Kids 2024

    Save the date! On Saturday 18 May at 11:00, the ARCHELON Rescue Centre opens its doors to welcome young and old sea turtle friends who want to celebrate, explore, learn, play and travel magically in the Mediterranean Sea. We are waiting for you to strengthen our message for a better and sustainable planet!

    Read more

    A successful year for the International Sea Turtle Symposium

    The International Sea Turtle Symposium concluded triumphantly this March in Pattaya, Thailand, with ARCHELON actively participating.

    Read more

    A Morning Beach Patrol with ARCHELON

    The camera lens of Stefanos and Maria of SteMajourneys caught a rare sight in the early morning: a Loggerhead sea turtle nesting! The volunteers in Chania took action right away to protect the nest.

    Read more

    Protecting sea turtles in Rethymno- Our Ocean, an Ocean of Potential

    The 9th International Conference "Our Ocean", which was held in Athens from April 15 to 17, was successfully completed. ARCHELON had the honor to actively take part in the conference and hosted a side event.

    Read more

    Coordination for the protection of sea turtles in Rethymno: Local authorities and tourism businesses join forces

    The meeting, which took place on April 5, 2024, in the building of the Regional Unit of Rethymno, touched upon key issues, such as the observance of conservation measures for the protection of the Loggerhead sea turtle. Given the tourist activity on the nesting beaches, the active participation of the tourism sector in the implementation of the measures is necessary.

    Read more

    "Tourists and turtles?" The environmental awareness campaign of ARCHELON spreads to the nesting beaches of the Loggerhead sea turtle

    After the pandemic, ARCHELON - the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece - is once again mobilizing on the path to sustainable tourism. The aim of the new campaign is to provide information on the appropriate code of conduct for visitors to all nesting beaches, in cooperation with the tourism sector.

    Read more
  10. OUR NEWS

    LIFE MareNatura - The largest marine biodiversity program in Greece

    Read more
  11. OUR NEWS

    Citizens inform us of sea turtle strandings

    ARCHELON started the effort to record the incidents of dead turtles washing up on the Greek shores in 1992. In recent years there has been an increase in these records which may be due to more of our fellow citizens reporting such incidents. Learn more…

    Read more
  12. OUR NEWS

    Contributing to international developments on sea turtle research and conservation

    In the past, members of ARCHELON were actively involved in the elaboration of the Global Strategy for the Conservation of Marine Turtles, published in 1995, and nowadays three of our collaborators participate in the writing of the revised guidebook “Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles”.

    Read more
  13. OUR NEWS

    The Over & Above Awards for 2023

    These are the ARCHELON Over & Above Awards for 2023.

    Read more
  14. OUR NEWS

    The moving experience of Frederique at the Rescue Centre

    At ARCHELON, you'll have the opportunity to meet and work together with new people and form lasting friendships - a major benefit of volunteering.

    Read more
  15. OUR NEWS

    Presentation of ARCHELON 2023 Results: Here is some good news!

    On Thursday February 15th, 2024, ARCHELON’s annual Presentation of Results took place downtown, at the Impact Hub Athens. When welcoming members, staff, collaborators, friends and volunteers, Daphne Mavrogiorgos, Director of ARCHELON, spoke about the multi-leveled action of ARCHELON during 2023.

    Read more
1 out of 0
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Learn about our latest actions and find out about our programs and how you can help sea turtles!