Our Working Groups
To engage the Modular Projects (MPs) into the production process of the Policy Factsheets, the MED Sustainable Tourism Community has launched four thematic Working Groups facilitated by a BleuTourMed partner and an external expert.
The Working Groups are made of MPs representatives and they are open to participation of external experts and policy-makers. Participants are exchanging ideas via periodical virtual meetings and they have met for the first time in Marseille last November for workshop #1.
A second workshop has been realised on the 27-28 March 2019 in Split, Croatia. This workshop #2 has been the final step of the activities of the Working Groups, where they have finalised the Policy Factsheets and Thematic Factsheets that will be presented at the Community’s final conference, 6-7 June 2019 in Barcelona.
Working Group #1: Monitoring tourism sustainability: what are the knowledge gaps of policy-making processes? How to bridge the data gaps on tourism?
One of the main issues regarding sustainability in the tourism sector is the lack of indicators and data on tourism activities. Finding ways to fill critical knowledge gaps is a key component of the implementation of more sustainable and respectful tourism alternatives in the Mediterranean region. Identifying relevant indicators, developing effective data collection mechanisms and identifying the impacts of tourism in the region is key to the implementation of alternative, sustainable and responsible tourism models.
At the Mediterranean level, the main current knowledge/data gaps on tourism is a key issue for the Interreg MED Sustainable Tourism Community in order to feed decision-making processes an propose alternative tourism models in line with policy-makers’ expectations.
Working Group #2: How to reduce the environmental-cultural-social impacts of tourism in the Mediterranean region?
Today, the “seasonal, mass tourism model” is deeply impacting the Mediterranean destinations and their inhabitants. The territorial imbalance between coastal areas and hinterland can represent an opportunity for the diversification of the tourism offer, which can contribute to the protection of the Mediterranean cultural and natural heritage. On the other hand, reducing social gaps and inequalities generated by mass tourism is also a priority for the Mediterranean region.
This working group will work on the limits of the mass tourism system in the Mediterranean region. Indeed, tourist flows in the Mediterranean region are usually following a “sea-sand-sun” seasonal pattern, creating multiple pressures on tourism destinations, and degrading the natural and cultural heritages of the region.
What exactly makes the current tourism model a threat to the Mediterranean natural and cultural heritages? How to catch stakeholders’ attention on the necessity of changing tourism habits and turning to more sustainable practices?
Working Group #3: How can the tourism sector ensure a sustainable and responsible economic growth and prosperity in the Mediterranean region?
Tourism is a key economic sector in the Mediterranean region, representing 11% of the regional GDP (WTTC, 2014, Economic impact of Travel and Tourism in the Mediterranean). However, the competitiveness of Mediterranean destinations is often associated to a “mass tourism model” and a lack of environmentally friendly practices. More recently, skepticism about mass tourism models started to grow, enhanced by a stagnation of international tourist arrivals since 2000.
How to support the tourism sector to become a “locomotive of sustainable growth and prosperity in the Mediterranean region”? How to develop the attractiveness of Mediterranean tourism products and services while protecting the Mediterranean identity?
Working Group #4: How to address the complexity of the tourism sector, including local actors, decision-makers and consumers? Governance mechanisms to guide a wide variety of stakeholders towards a more sustainable and responsible tourism?
The development of long-term governance mechanisms will contribute to a better coordination and monitoring of the tourism sector and its interactions and synergies with other sectors in the Mediterranean region.
How to tackle the lack of cooperation and common understanding among tourism actors? How to implement collaborative partnerships at local and regional levels (public-private partnerships, multi stakeholder platforms)?
How to support the implementation of more sustainable tourism policies through integrated decision-making mechanisms and policy design processes, as well as development and combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches?
This working group will focus on actions to reach a better understanding of the concept of “sustainable development” among tourism stakeholders, including: horizontal interventions promoting promoting establishment of generally accepted standards and rules, and improved cooperation between public bodies and private tourism associations.