The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) launched interesting discussions towards the implementation of a joint Mediterranean Maritime and Coastal tourism management model at the MITOMED+ Capitalisation Conference on 7 October. The conference was organised back to back with the European Week of Regions and Cities and the Sustainable Tourism Community “Fostering sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean region” conference, among others.

The conference ‘Towards improved governance and management for sustainable M&C tourism’ – developed through the Interreg MED MITOMED+ Project – was organised by the CPMR’s Intermediterranean Commission (IMC) and hosted by the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the European Union.
It involved more than 50 Destination Managers, professionals, and regional policymakers, as well as representatives from the academic and private sectors, alongside with MEPs and representatives from the European Commission.

During the morning session, representatives from regional authorities and European institutions stressed the importance of sustainable tourism at the Regional and European levels. Stefano Ciuoffo, Tuscany Region’s Councillor for Productive Activities, to Credit, Tourism and Trade, said: “sustainability must be translated into measurable actions.
Ms Isabel García Muñoz, Member of the European Parliament, also recalled the recent work of the European Parliament on tourism and why this topic matters to the EU.
Ms Ramune Genzbigelyte-Venturi from DG GROW presented the ongoing initiatives, policy priorities, funding, and major events at EU level related to sustainable tourism. She said, “Sustainable tourism is a cross-cutting activity. For this reason, EU policies can act in complementarity.

Speaking during the morning session, the CPMR Executive Director for European Programs, Partnerships and Geographical Commissions, Davide Strangis, recalled the importance of sustainable tourism for EU regions and the added value of MITOMED+’s tools and methodology, in particular, the Mediterranean Maritime and Coastal Tourism Management Model.  He subsequently presented the Management Model, which elaboration was coordinated by the CPMR with the support of in2destination. This document aims to improve sustainable and responsible maritime and coastal tourism planning in the Mediterranean area through a series of recommendations, tools and practices based on the CPMR-IMC and NECSTouR policy work, the Interreg MED Sustainable Tourism Community results and MITOMED+ tools, among others.

Destinations that have or have not (Lazio; Cyprus; Poreč; Catalunya) implemented MITOMED+ methodology reacted to the content of the model and its implementation in their territories. Interesting views and experiences on the management of sustainable maritime and coastal tourism arose.

The afternoon session, dedicated to synergies with other initiatives and projects on MED maritime and coastal sustainable tourism, was the opportunity for other projects and initiatives, to react and discuss on the Management Model in view of its dissemination and possible application in other territories, putting it in perspective according to their background and the initiative/project they represent and feed the overall reflection on how to improve the management of sustainable maritime and coastal tourism in the Mediterranean.

Leticia Ortega, ALTER ECO, Instituto Valenciano de la Edificación – IVE stated “MITOMED+ M&C Tourism Management Model is a good starting point for the continuous improvement of the destinations, even for destinations starting from scratch as regards sustainable tourism management.”
Giuliano Tallone, Lazio Region, Representative from Interreg MED Axis 4 Strategic projects on M&C Tourism “We should expend/move the model to the model on Cultural Path foreseen by one of the 2 strategic projects of PANORAMED, BEST MED.”

Mr Stefano Ciuoffo presented the rationale behind and content of the Memorandum of Understanding to be signed on the occasion of MITOMED+’s Final Conference in Livorno (Tuscany) in December 2019 between MITOMED+  destinations, public authorities and actors committing to “apply on the ground the MED M&C management model and measuring methodology conceived by MITOMED+ and mainstream it into its regional policies, in a time frame to be further discussed and agreed between both parties, so that it will be decisive for strategic decision making in the region”.

Mr Roberto Grassi, Latin Arc, Coordinator of the Sustainable Tourism Community of the Interreg MED programme, reacted to this initiative from the point of view of the Interreg MED community on Sustainable Tourism and stressed the work carried out by the community towards improving the management of sustainable maritime and coastal tourism in the Mediterranean so far and future steps.

The CPMR-IMC is encouraging coastal and maritime destinations from across the Mediterranean and beyond to join forces. Davide Strangis concluded the conference with five takeaways: the importance of the participatory approach; the multilevel governance; decision-support systems based on indicators and data; empowerment and capacity building; innovation and dissemination of products and branding.

Jan Korthoudt, Vice-President of the Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism (NECSTouR) and Director Tourism Flanders Region, added that we should now disseminate the model’s values; adopt its participatory approach; ensure a behavioural change in Destinations; consider NECSTouR’s priorities at the base of policy-making.

In the margins of this conference and encouraging results, both organisations, the CPMR and NECSTouR, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for future collaboration on European Tourism policy and strategies.

For more information about the MITOMED+ project, click here.