The islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca are a unique geographical area. Their inhabitants enjoy life and work having many opportunities to develop small businesses in the tourism industry (but also in other sectors). The area pleasantly surprises visitors with what it provides. The core values (geological wealth, natural wealth, archeological - newer cultural wealth, interconnection of cultural - natural heritage, intangible cultural heritage) guarantee an excellent living environment.
The maintarget for the first fouryears (counting from the Geopark’s objective pursued joining the Network) is for the area to be even more attractive for the inhabitants, for the visitors and for the businesses.
The vision for the Geopark of Kefalonia – Ithaka is to be ( or / and to be preserved as:
The word “landscape” is used currently for describing the unforgettable images remaining in the minds of residents and visitors of the area. These images are the key factors for the impression created for an area. This impression is of a crucial importance in the decision making of a resident to settle or leave the area, as well as, for the visitors to return to this area or propose this area to other people.
This landscaped is formed by the resources of the core values (geological wealth, natural wealth, archeological – newer cultural wealth, interconnection of cultural – natural heritage, non-materialistic cultural heritage). The preservation of these resources and core values contributes at the same time to the preservation of the landscape). This unharmed landscape attracts the ever increasing tourist flows thus results in the ever increasing income. This has as a result for the residents not to leave the area and not to leave their agricultural activities and the ensuring the future development.
A pleasant place to live and to work
The essential values of the Geopark are well known among the majority of the inhabitants of the islands so they actively help in order to preserve them and in order to share them with other people. Fortheinhabitantsoftheislands, these values are the essential factors of sustainability and competitiveness of their region. Moreover, the sense of their unique identity derives from these values. What is more, is that a remarkable number of new residents plus a certain number of new businesses are being attracted to the island by this bold native identity of Kefalonia and Ithaka as these values are the fundamental factors for the quality of life as well as for lusty business endeavors.
A region “powered” by the tourism industry
The unique combination of certain values with a well-established quality of the touristic product acts as a pole of attraction for tourists.
The inclusion of the Geopark in the Network will help to achieve a larger target audience, thanks to the quality assurance (landscape, services, products) that will be "guaranteed" by UNESCO, due to its international prestige.
The extra visitors will stay longer and thus this will lead to an increase of localentrepreneurs income. This increase of income will result in more employment opportunities and more investment capabilities, thus enhancing the sustainability of the area.
The main objectives of the Kefalonia – Ithaka Geopark are:
- To protect and in the same time to give prominence to the remarkable geological characteristics of the region (hence the prefix “Geo-”).
- To properly promote and protect the geological features of the region in order these features to be a factor that will contribute to the development of alternative forms of tourism, such as geotourism.
- To educate visitors of all ages.
- To offer a high quality of good and services.
- To give prominence to the geology the history and the culture of this area (material and intangible).
- To strengthen the guard of the local natural environment.
- To contribute to the preservation of the geodiversity and the preservation of the geological monuments.
- To support the local economy.
- To promote investments related to the operation of the Geopark.