As a follow-up to the Project “Sustainability and Tourism in the Mediterranean”, the S&T Med Partners led by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism of Italy have launched a Network gathering sustainable Mediterranean Coastal Destinations, and their stakeholders, including governments, MSMEs, operators of the tourism value chain. The Network is meant to become a reference framework, a hub, to support Mediterranean destinations in the concrete application to tourism of the principles of sustainable development and management, stimulating endogenous and harmonious development that can guarantee equal sharing of benefits across participating communities, protection and valorisation of the cultural and environmental assets in full respect of local values and traditions.
But the Network is not the only result of this strategic ENPI CBC MED-funded Project that gathers 9 Partners with different institutional mission (national governments and local authorities, marine protected areas, the Academia) and from three participating Mediterranean Countries (Jordan, Tunisia and Italy).
Indeed, in the Final Conference of the Project that took place in Aqaba on 15th December, a number of other important results have been at the core of the debate.
First and foremost: the set up of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) in the three Project’s areas (Aqaba in Jordan, Mahdia in Tunisia and Sinis in Italy). These three DMOs -that reflect the different institutional and socio-economic contexts of the 3 areas- are meant to create an integrated, sustainable and long-term approach to destination management, and stimulate public-private partnerships. More importantly, DMO is not an end by itself but it is rather a means to achieve the objectives of a sustainable and harmonious development of tourism, which is at the basis of the Project’s approach.
Recognising that local decision-making process is rooted in the capacity of substantiating decisions with scientific data and being accountable for that, S&T MED is also focusing on tourism data and monitoring of environmental parameters.
In this view, a transnational Observatory on Sustainable Tourism is being established under the Project and buoys have been installed in the seabed in front of the Project’s areas. Beside data provision, S&T MED’s buoys represent important tools to engage tourists and local communities in environmental monitoring and protection, by increasing their awareness of the values of coastal ecosystems with their associated services and, therefore, proposing an all-out experience of the destinations. This is key to ensure the sustainable development and management in areas where attractiveness depends by and large on the good environmental status of the coastal areas, its biodiversity and habitats.