Improving the sustainability of mobility in tourist destinations is even more urgent now than before as the COVID-19 pandemics has hardly disrupted both the mobility sector and tourism industry, which are at the heart of the quality of life of residents, of a territory's productivity fabrics and of tourists' experience too.
Watch the conference replay here
As Regions and Cities share responsibilities and competences over tourism and urban mobility, the sustainability of mobility in Mediterranean tourist destinations can be improved only if they work together and in cooperation with other stakeholders such as: NGOs, Universities and private companies. To achieve this common objective, territorial cooperation projects have already demonstrated their value, and some of their results have been presented in a workshop at the European Week of Regions and Cities 2020 on 20th October by the Urban Transports and Sustainable Tourism Communities, both initiatives of the Interreg MED Programme.
The workshop on “Sustainable mobility in tourist destinations: key solutions to replicate across the Mediterranean region” featured the intervention of Ms Cristina Nunez (Managing Director, NECSTouR, partner of Sustainable Tourism Community) and Mr Fabio Tomasi (Head of International Project Department, Area Science Park, partner of Urban Transports Community) and moderated by Mr Oriol Barba (Director of MedCities, lead partner of Urban Transports Community).
Mr Fabio Tomasi, while presenting the main features of the Urban Transports Community, described the public call for “Sustainable Urban Mobility Implementing Cities”: a peer-learning and mentorship opportunity, offered by the Urban Transports Community to Mediterranean Cities, to overcome some of the obstacles to the full implementation of sustainable mobility solutions. <Download Fabio Tomasi's presentation>
Mrs Cristina Nunez presented the main features of the Sustainable Tourism Community, highlighting the importance of keeping more visible the tourism topic in the next programming period. She showed the data dropped to lower levels in tourism caused by the COVID pandemic and the worries about the next future, in terms of jobs at risk and the need to re-adapt the planning because of the priorities change. The EU agenda is paving the way for it through the Green Deal and the Digital Age and regions are called to capitalise and mainstream to build and implement the EU tourism and mobility agendas while optimising the NEXT GENERATION EU Instruments to smartly invest in this mission. Territorial cooperation is the solution to accelerate the transition into a more sustainable tourism model for our destinations including sustainable mobility in the last mile. <Download Cristina Nunez's presentation>
Mr Oriol Barba, moderated the session stressing the relevance of both communities of projects that have developed a set of replicable solutions that other cities and territories might benefit from. “The process of replication, if properly implemented, can really mainstream the EU resources that have been poured into projects - commented Mr Tomasi - but there are several obstacles to it that can be overcome with high quality technical assistance, as we plan to do with our Community’ public call for Sustainable Urban Mobility Implementing Cities”. Improving the sustainability of mobility in tourist destinations is even more strategic now with the ongoing critical situation due to the COVID-19 pandemics, because upon these sectors we can ground a recovery plan for a more sustainable and resilient future. “No one wants to go back to past volumes of traffic and to overtourism - highlighted Mrs Cristina Nunez - it turns out that now is our best chance to reshape the way we move and consume holidays.”
The two Interreg MED Communities bring together 30+ territorial cooperation projects and 500+ partner organisations active in all Southern European and IPA countries, and a great part of them has been implementing and testing solutions for different aspects of mobility, such as: management of tourist and freight flows in Mediterranean port Cities; implementation of soft and shared mobility solutions for tourists and residents; development of alternative tourist routes to deconcentrate urban centre; and monitoring the flows of people by a smart use of big data and ICT.
The Urban Transports Community is featured by a project lead by MedCities (Barcelona, Spain), in partnership with UNIMED Mediterranean Universities Union (Rome, Italy), Area Science Park (Trieste, Italy), CODATU (Lyon, France), CIVINET CY-EL (Cyprus-Greece), POLIS, Cities and Regions for transport innovation (Brussels, Belgium), and Durres Municipality (Durres, Albania).
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The MED Sustainable Tourism community is an Interreg MED Programme initiative coordinated by DIBA - Barcelona Provincial Council (Barcelona, Spain) in partnership with UNIMED - Mediterranean Universities Union(Rome, Italy), University of Thessaly (Thessaly, Greece), Arco Latino, a network of local public authorities (Tarragona, Spain), NECSTour - Network of European Regions or Sustainable and Competitive Tourism (Brussels, Belgium), Plan Bleu UNEP MAP, the Regional Activity Centre of Mediterranean Action Plan (Marseille, France), Adriatic and Ionian Euroregion (Pula, Croatia), RDA Green Karst Regional Development Agency (Pivka, Slovenia)
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