Save the date: “Helping destinations to improve the sustainability of tourism”. Six pilots orienting local sustainable development strategies and promoting Mediterranean identity // Valencia, 12 July 2019

On the 12th of July 2019, the final conference of the MED ALTER ECO project will take place in Valencia. The event will present the outcomes of local development strategies based on sustainable tourism, that have been implemented in six Mediterranean destinations in the last 3 years. With the presence of 20 speakers coming from local, national and european organizations, it will be the setting for decision-makers, tourism experts and representatives of private and public sectors to meet with the urban planning sector and feed a debate on results-capitalisation and promoting the Mediterranean identity conservation.

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(Rome, 11 June 2019) Since 2016, the international tourist arrivals in the EU have largely exceeded 500 million per year, heading towards the almost 700 million in 2018. This is a trend that, according to the latest report of the European Union, represents a growing tendency. In the Mediterranean region, which features highly attractive destinations and a strong cultural identity, the arrivals are facing the same trends. Such high arrivals and the consequent pressure exerted by these mass tourism flows has repercussions undermining the social, cultural and environmental dynamics of the Mediterranean basin. As a result, many Mediterranean tourist destinations have activated mechanisms to these negative effects, either by working to find solutions to the challenges and pressures, or by looking for ways to improve the tourism management itself.

The final conference of ALTER ECO, a project co-funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) in the framework of the Interreg MED Programme, will cast and present the outcomes of mechanisms and tools that have been tested in six pilot destinations of the Mediterranean. Indeed, this project raison d’être is to develop alternative tourist strategies to enhance the local sustainable development of tourism by promoting Mediterranean identity. With this Conference, ALTER ECO aims at showcasing the outcomes of the “human-centred design” techniques adopted in the cities of Málaga, Genoa, Venice and Dubrovnik, the Comunitat Valenciana (Valencia Autonomous Community) and the South Aegean Region- SAR.

The event promotes the debate of the project with members of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community and tourism experts, foreseeing the participation of 20 speakers. The debates will bring the perspective of different decision-making levels and different stances of the tourism sector, public and private, animating the roundtables and parallel workshops. The participantsy will discuss on “cooperation programmes for sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean”, analysing programmes such as the Interreg MED, among other possible ones. Two parallel workshops will promote reflections on “future thinking”, a session focused on how to capitalise the outcomes produced until this moment, and a workshop promoting an in depth discussion on the ALTER ECO partners “learning from experience”.

The Conference will be the occasion for the six pilots to analyse the results produced with the model that each of them have designed to promote sustainable and responsible local development of coastal tourism by protecting and promoting the Mediterranean Identity. The mechanisms, the tools and the strategies adopted in Genoa, Malaga, Venice, Comunitat Valenciana, SAR and Dubrovnik, have all been looking for a balance between the benefit of the tourism activity and the local traditions conservation but the outcomes and the modalities have been different. The project partners and the conference attendees will have the opportunity to reflect on these aspects in order to capitalise and streamline the results to the wider Mediterranean region. A key moment will be signature of the “ALTER ECO Declaration”.

Under the Interreg MED Programme, a series of transnational partnerships involving more than 200 actors in the region, have promoted some testing and researching activities to tackle the threat deriving from overtourism and the non-sustainable practices in the Mediterranean region. Based on an multi-stakeholders approach, a stronger collaboration between private and public sectors, as well as the participation of the citizens, the virtual MED Sustainable Tourism Community of territorial projects has produced concrete outcomes than can be further developed or transferred, and could influence policy makers.

As emerged in the recent event Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention, the closing event of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community, the transnational cooperation in the region is vital in implementing policies for sustainable tourism. The 17 territorial projects of this thematic community, have worked on the need to diversify the tourism offer and to coordinate the tourism sector with the management of mobility in urban coast areas. Nonetheless, the need to accurately manage the public-private sector as well as citizens participation, is necessary in order to keep developing a more specialised knowledge of the themes at hand. Heading towards the next phase, it is important to present the results in order to further develop future actions and capitalize the results, trying to mainstream them into concrete policies for the entire region.

The agenda of the event is available here

It is possible to consult the project summary here

The event is open and free of charge.

Register your participation here

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