Associated Partners Event: past achievements, present activities and future synergies / 6 May 2021

The first associated partners and other stakeholders event took place on May 6th, 2021. The event gathered the MED Sustainable Tourism Community’s 17 associated partners and other interested stakeholders.

Associated partners are essential stakeholders of the Sustainable Tourism Community. Their role is to ensure links with other initiatives and to enlarge the impacts and the scope of the dissemination, transferring and capitalisation activities of the Community. The event aimed at informing them about the main achievements of the community, the main activities foreseen and eventually, at identifying synergies and collaborations.

Josep Rodriguez, from DIBA, presented the community and the main achievements of its 17 projects for the period 2016 - 2019. It was focused on knowledge and systematization of projects results (database “search the MED” on EU project results and scientific papers about tourism sustainability in the Mediterranean, scientific publications, 6 thematic papers and 6 thematic factsheets), instruments towards advocacy (athens political declaration, 4 policy factsheets, policy recommendations), and communication tools (website, newsletters, videos, social networks…).

Seven new projects joined the community for the period 2019 - 2022, with a specific focus on transfer and capitalization of results and outputs. To support this objective, territorial antennas are being created. They are mapping stakeholders in three dimensions (tourism policies, cohesion policies and Mediterranean policies), organising transfering workshops and national and regional debates for the capitalization of the project outputs and policy recommendations.

The foreseen activities were then presented. They aim at incorporating the new outputs coming from the ongoing projects in the catalogue, updating the policy recommendations to the COVID-19 scenario, updating the various community tools, organizing transferring and capitalization workshops and national and regional debates as well as conducting a survey on the use of Recovery Funds NGEU and other cohesion funds for the sustainability of tourism in the Mediterranean.

Participants then discussed some possible synergies. Discussions featured notably the contribution of Alessandra Sensi, from the Union for the Mediterranean, who pointed out to the growing importance of tourism in the work of the 42 Euro-Mediterranean countries. She explained that a handbook on the post covid scenario with a strong focus on sustainability is under development, in joint coordination with CPMR, and that capacity-building events are being planned to present it and translate the policy recommendations and strategies into concrete actions in order to regenerate the tourism sector. “We should consider the consequences of the pandemic as an opportunity. We are in the right moment to strengthen and improve the tourism community in the Mediterranean” noted Michele Colavito, UfM consultant.

Other contributions were given like the one of Claudia Guzzon from CPMR, Manuela Bigi from Tuscany Region and part of Panoramed project, and Stephanie Vella from the National Hub Malta for the Westmed Initiative. Gianluca Falcitelli, from CISP, coordinator of the ENI CBC Med projects CROSSDEV and RESTART MED also shared some elements and insisted on the fact that “we have to work together through joint and common actions, in order to mutually enhance our projects and integrate the community from the north and south shores of the mediterranean”.

Besides, the nexus between sustainable tourism and urban mobility should not be forgotten, as highlighted by Laia Vinyes from Medcities and part of the Urban Transports Community. It is essential, as she highlighted, to explore how a more sustainable mobility offer can contribute to a more sustainable tourism.

Fruitful discussions like this one are essential. The tourism sector has been suffering from the pandemic and this is the reason why the mission of the Sustainable Tourism Community and its stakeholders is more important now than ever.

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