Responsible Travel Policy

As a member of Responsible Travel (www.responsibletravel.com), we publish here our policy aims/mission plus our statements of economic, environmental and social responsibilties, including our travellers code of conduct. Responsible Travel promotes the best small holiday companies which maximise the positive and minimise the negative impacts on the local community, economy and environment.

Policy aims/mission statement

Fermina Hotel Ltd is a Greek tourism company selling and operating hiking holidays on the island of Kythnos (population 1500), producing a hiking guide to the island, and developing its own quality hotel. The hiking holidays and guide book are already launched in 2015. The hotel, the renovation of two adjacent mansion houses, will be ready in 2016.

Fermina's aim is to provide quality services to its guests. Hikers will be efficiently transported and transferred to their Kythnos accommodation. While on the walks, they are supported by professional trained guides, who have First Aid certificates. In the absence of Fermina's hotel we use a clean and well-maintained hotel in the island capital, the Hora.

Management has the goals of efficiently running the hiking holidays, ensuring hotel rooms are properly provided, meals are delivered, activities well-organised, and that the company makes a reasonable financial return. Management is adequate in size to ensure the goals are achieved. Protection of the environment and sustainability are key.

Employees are supported so they can meet the objectives set for guests and by management. As far as possible, employees are hired on the island, and trained in Athens when necessary. Where it is not possible to hire locally, Fermina will hire Greek nationals. Employees will be given clear job descriptions and performance standards to meet.

Economic responsibility

Fermina is in a start-up phase and is committed to heavy financial investment for its hotel, due to be ready in 2016. In 2015 for the hiking holidays, the capital expenditure is minimal, possibly a minibus later in the season. The hiking operations are the main cost, including paying guides a proper fee, paying for accommodation at the hotel, food and drink, and cultural activities, mainly in the evening. The principal guide was born and lives on the island. The archeologist for the excavation site visit comes regularly from Athens and is involved closely in the digging on the island. Evening meals are provided by local taverna using island produce where possible, such as lamb, goat, fish, cheese and vegetables. The evening music is played by musicians living on the island.

Environmental responsibiity

The Kythnos Hiking Guide, produced by Fermina and published by Terrain Editions (www.terrainmaps.gr) and given to each guest, extols via its descriptions of 11 walking trails the natural beauty of the island countryside, its historical sites, its traditional villages and buildings, its numerous churches, and many unspoilt beaches. The book emphasises the importance of looking after the countryside, protecting wildlife, not dropping rubbish and closing gates.

The bilingual, Greek/English, guidebook is the Travellers Code of Conduct. It includes two pages of Useful Information covering the fitness required, clothing and shoes to wear, the natural sights to see, such as flowers, plants and animals. It gives advice for young walkers and what to do in the case of any injury. Each of the trails includes a mini-map of the route, the distance, the height of hills, any difficult terrain and natural hazards.

All the taverna visited during the day or in the evenings are chosen for their use of local produce from the island and for their traditional island dishes. Souvenirs, such as pottery, jewelry, and trinkets, plus food products such as jam and honey are made on the island and can be purchased from shops in the Hora, Dryopida, and Merichas villages.

With its hiking holidays, the company wants to demonstrate that this ecologically-sensitive form of tourism can help the local economy. The company wants to be an advocate in the local community for preserving the calm and history of the island.

Social responsibility

Kythnos has a lively cultural scene, including many traditional music events linked to religious feast days, particularly Easter and 15 August but also many other saints days. It has a summer festival in July and August. As noted before the hiking holidays include walks to key historical sites, with a specialist guide, and in the evening musical events take place. Fermina is also considering farm visits, such as to cheese and honey-making, which are important to the island. Another option is cooking lessons. Fermina's hotel will retain the 200-year-old buildings historical features, such as a pigeon house, and design, including interiors.

Please send any comments or concerns to tuttnigel@hotmail.com and we will deal with them as soon as possible.