A key site in the development of the 19th century silk industry
Soufli, located in the Evros region, is a settlement characterized by a widely recognized dipole of tourist destinations, the National Park of Dadia-Soufli-Levkimi and the uniquely preserved in Europe, silk tradition, including, vigorous traditional economic activities, from cultivation of the mulberry trees to the production and promotion of silk as well as the historical architecture of its “cocoon-houses”.
Moreover, the village proposes a remarkable diversity of other resources -destinations, such as the amazing fossil forest, the unique in Greece prehistoric megalithic monuments, the historical religious attractions, Christian and Muslim, the architecture of the neighboring mountainous villages and traditional activities, such as winery, meat cuts, beekeeping etc.
The local economic-social-geostrategic profile is highlighted by strategic advantages and opportunities, which form the basis for a self-sustaining tourism development plan, reinforced by synergies and networking.
It is generally accepted, today, that standardized, homogenized mass tourism is not any more a top priority. Therefore, any proposal, concerning villages, such as Soufli, is destined to be oriented towards specific priorities, aiming at the composition of an alternative and innovative product, through the formulation and promotion of a specific, or even unique local profile, requirements to which Soufli answers to the optimum degree.
Soufli keeps its authenticity and is not saturated by distorted forms of uncontrolled development. Thus, the possibility of formulating a viable proposal in the tourism sector is strongly justifiable. The configuration and promotion of a unique culture and an attractive local identity respond to the required characteristics, standards and market demands, accessibility, clarity, relaxation, connection with the local ambience, marketable, tangible and intangible products etc.
Preservation of traditional skills and techniques
The traditional silk economy of Soufli owns areas of mulberry trees, a large public unit for the silkworms breeding and a municipal factory for the silk thread production. Soufli is the only settlement in Europe which preserves and supports activities connected with the economy of silk production. In fact, Soufli was included in the Western Silk Road Roadmap project as an example of recognition of the tourism potential of Silk Road heritage. .
Promoting innovation in tourism development
Local authorities draw on funding opportunities offered by national and EU schemes to promote local tourism, e.g. for the organization of festivals and exhibitions. The village is committed to a transformational strategy, fostering innovation transversally in its tourism vision, approach and products. New projects and proposal have all an innovation component, from the application of IT technologies in museum management to the use of virtual reality.
The village safeguards persons with disabilities and vulnerable groups through dedicated structures such as the “Center of Open Care for the Elderly”, the “Help at Home” and the “Community Center”, while the Association of friends of persons with Disabilities”, “Thread of life” offers creative and cultural activities to its members.