Reinvesting local taxes and fees to promote renewable energy and tourism sustainability has been the focus of an interview conducted by UNIMED with the LOCAL4GREEN Project of the Interreg MED Renewable Energy Community.
(Rome, 11 March 2019) “By leveraging local taxes it is possible to facilitate the transition towards renewable energy and also to promote more sustainable tourism practices” affirmed Mr. Francesco Filippi, Director for Projects and Quality of the MUSOL Foundation which is partner in the Interreg MED project LOCAL4GREEN, in an interview with UNIMED - Mediterranean Universities Union. Most notably, in close cooperation with the municipality of Nicosia in Cyprus “the hotel accomodation tax, collected by hotels and transferred to cities, has been increased up to 20% - he continued - to create a Green Fund, which provides tourist sector facilities and hotels in Cyprus with a free energy audit to elaborate efficiency and renewable energy plans, whose market value is 40 000 - 50 000 €.”
Created in November 2016, LOCAL4GREEN is a territorial cooperation project part of the Interreg MED Renewable Energy Community, pulling together 68 municipalities from 9 countries in a common effort to reinvest local taxes and fees for renewable energy purposes and to award tax reductions to the taxpayers using renewable energy sources, as described in the "handbook for green local fiscal policy formulation" published by the project in June 2017. “Notwithstanding existing legal constraints, which limit the capacity of local authorities to intervene on local taxes, and in some cases even the reluctance of some administrations in changing practices - emphasized Mr. Filippi - we have so far achieved important results in some of our pilot implementation areas, especially in tourist areas and islands.”
This project is particularly linked to the work of several initiatives of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community such as CO-EVOLVE project, encouraging the emergence of policies and initiatives to promote the development of sustainable and responsible coastal and maritime tourism; the DestiMED project specifically for protected areas; the MITOMED+ project, inter alia aiming at the improvement of public sustainable development policies; and also the COASTING project aiming at enhancing the effectiveness of a multilevel governance tool like Coast Contract, fully framing coastal management and tourism sustainability issues; to only quote a few.
LOCAL4GREEN also increased waste management fees in Lakatamia municipality to feed a Green Fund to develop an environmental educational corner for students. This is interesting for the BLUEISLANDS project, aiming at identifying, addressing and mitigating the effect of the seasonal variation of waste generated on Mediterranean islands as an effect of tourism.
This interview represented a great opportunity to discuss about possible synergies between LOCAL4GREEN and the MED Sustainable Tourism Community, to capitalize the results and benefit from each other’s experiences and results in order to further deepen the sustainability of tourism in the Mediterranean area.
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