The kick-off meeting of the Interreg MED HERIT-DATA project, which involves the CPMR Intermediterranean Commission (IMC), took place in Florence, Italy, on 15 May 2018.

The partners involved in HERIT-DATA (Sustainable Heritage Management towards Mass Tourism Impact thanks to a holistic use of Big and Open Data), led by Tuscany, met in Italy for the official launch of the project.

HERIT-DATA is a four-year integrated project co-financed by the Interreg MED Programme’s second call for proposals, under priority axis 3 (natural and cultural resources) and specific objective 3.1 (sustainable tourism). The project started in February 2018 and will end in January 2022.

The project aims to measure and reduce the impact of mass tourism-related human activities on old cities and sites of particular cultural heritage or archaeological interest, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in coastal and adjacent maritime areas.

As an integrated project, HERIT-DATA will be divided into three phases i.e. (1) Studying; (2) Testing and Transferring; (3) Capitalising.

Throughout the project’s lifetime, partners will develop, test and transfer a series of knowledge and solutions (Models, Strategy, Artificial Intelligence and Big data based on platform and App, etc.) in line with the current sectoral changes and characteristics of smart destinations. These will be able to collect, generate, integrate and analyse information and transform it into behaviour changes, according to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) recommendations.

Vittorio Bugli, Regional Councillor of Tuscany, welcomed the participants, affirming the strategic importance of HERIT-DATA’s results for protecting important natural resources and cultural heritage in coastal and adjacent maritime areas. He also stressed the willingness of the project to look beyond the project’s scope and collaborate with other relevant projects.

During the kick-off meeting, partners had the opportunity to discuss the overall organisation of the project and internal issues, as well as plan the first activities.

The consortium consists of organisations, universities and technology centres, as well as local and regional public authorities from Italy, Spain, Croatia, France and Portugal, including four IMC member Regions as full partners – i.e. Tuscany, Valencia, Occitanie and Western Greece – and two as associates – i.e. Shkoder and Tirana. It also involves several Mediterranean local public administrations (mainly municipalities) i.e. Ibiza and Gandía (Spain), Firenze (Italy), Olympia (Greece).

The IMC, which is a full project partner, will monitor technical activities and provide residual support to communication and transferring activities. It will also be strongly involved in the project’s capitalising phase, together with the Occitanie Region (coordinator of capitalisation activities), starting in February 2021.

As part of this role, the IMC will ensure interactions with other Interreg MED projects on sustainable tourism (BleuTourMed, MITOMED+, CO-EVOLVE, etc.); share results with its members through its Task Force on Sustainable Tourism and Culture; and interact with relevant actors/initiatives to mainstream the project’s results. Exchange of experiences and best practices with other Mediterranean Regions will also be foreseen.

For further information, please contact Emmanuel Maniscalco: and Flora Leroy: