The Tourism Transition Pathway (TTP) was published by the European Commission on February 2022 as the first in a series of transition pathways for EU industrial ecosystems, in response to the European Council invitation to develop a European program for tourism with the Member States and relevant stakeholders. The TTP is the result of a co-creation process involving an online consultation and several workshops and meetings with stakeholders aiming to identify the actions, targets and conditions needed for the green and digital transition and long-term resilience of the European tourism industry. The final report invites the European tourism community to implement measures in 27 areas. To this end, the Commission launched a call for commitments and participation in the co-implementation of the TTP inviting tourism stakeholders to inform about the commitments the organisation has made, to support the green and digital transition towards a resilient tourism ecosystem and to express the interest of the organisations to participate in the Task forces to support and follow the green, digital, and resilient aspects of the TTP co-implementation.
In this session Ms. Valentina Superti, Director of Tourism and Proximity at DG GROW, will present the Tourism Transition Pathway, the insights that European tourism stakeholders are sharing through their response to the “call for commitment to co-implement the TTP”, and invite the members of the Sustainable Tourism Community to express their commitments, examples, challenges, possible solutions and need for European action.
The MED Sustainable Tourism Community is an Interreg MED initiative co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) launched in November 2016. It gathers 30 territorial cooperation projects and more than 200 organisations active in 13 European countries that join forces to make tourism a real driver for inclusive and sustainable growth. After a period of six years of implementation, the Community will introduce the second edition of the Catalogue of outputs that collects the main solutions developed by the projects of the Community, and a Best practices report on capitalisation that showcase how the results have improved the public policies on tourism.
The growing number of natural disasters each year is threatening the natural and cultural heritage on which tourism destinations rely to attract visitors, whereas coastal destinations and other areas of natural beauty may also be particularly vulnerable to climate impacts. The green transition of tourism services and activities is inevitably linked with the implementation of initiatives related to environmental protection and climate neutrality, and the 82% of Europeans are already willing to change their travel habits for more sustainable practices, according to a Eurobarometer survey from October 2021. Global initiatives such as the Glasgow Declaration show how we are at a turning point towards the acceleration of the climate action in tourism.
This panel centres on the need that the tourism industry responds and faces the already visible challenges and impacts that the climate change is bringing, and how can it contribute to accelerate the current scheme and dynamics towards a real climate action.
The development of strategic planning and management tools for the tourism industry in the destinations has become an essential step not only to overcome and address the challenges that these are facing, but also to create long-term and integrative dynamics that guarantee the sustainability of the tourism activities in the future. There is a need for new models and strategies that are built on sustainable development principles and enforce digital transition of tourism, that promote effective and collaborative governance among all stakeholders groups, that facilitate more innovative processes and that pay close attention to the specific strengths and challenges of tourism destinations and territories.
This panel will discuss how will tourism destinations foster green and digital transition and develop new governance models in the future.
Digitalisation of the economy and society in a broader sense, and the increased scope for data generation, data collection and services will provide opportunities to transform the tourism industry. On the other hand, the digital connectivity is a key issue for all kind of destinations, who should also have the capacity to provide digitally enhanced tourism services, and for tourism SMEs, who should also count on the basic digital infrastructures needed to implement more digital business processes and to develop digital tourism products. Further, skills for using and strategically integrating digital tools in work and decision-making processes can facilitate developing and implementing more effective and better quality services to meet the changing demand and expectations of the customers.
This panel centres on how Mediterranean destinations and companies can benefit from applying new and existing tools that can foster their digitalisation.
In 1995, the Barcelona Declaration launched the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership with the objective to create an area of peace, shared prosperity, and human and cultural exchanges. Since then, much has been achieved in the cultural, academic and civil society cooperation but there is still much to do at economic and political level, even though these sectors were considered strategic and top priorities. Even if we have abandoned ambitious initiatives such as the “free trade area”, the recent announcement of a “New agenda for the Mediterranean” is a concrete proof that a strengthened Mediterranean partnership remains a strategic imperative for European countries. Amongst the economic sectors we should pay more attention to in this renewed framework, there should surely be tourism for its potential of leading a positive transformation and impact on the Mediterranean most urgent and strategic challenges such as: climate change, biodiversity protection and innovation and competitiveness. Besides, we have learned from the experience of the Sustainable Tourism Community, and not only, that a bottom-up political and governance approach aiming at promoting more sustainable tourist models and practices can trigger virtuous social and economic integration processes; as well as strengthen the cultural cooperation amongst Euro-Mediterranean communities that takes into account each other specificities, exigencies and sensibilities.
From the contribution of a network association of municipalities, a UN agency specialised in Environmental Protection and an association as well as the experience of a managing authority we will better understand how transnational and international cooperation programs can contribute to make tourism become a real driver for economic and cultural development and, ultimately, to shape the future “Mediterranean Generation”.
Several EU funding programmes provide support to tourism and its stakeholders in their efforts to become greener, digital and more resilient. Now we are living a special momentum with an unprecedented amount of money coming from the Next Generation recovery funds and also the foreseen cohesion funds for the programming period 2021-2027. In this session, we will know how the EU programmes have been used in favour of the sustainable tourism in the past and it will be introduced the Handbook on the use of recovery funds & ERDF for the sustainable tourism produced by the MED Sustainable Tourism Community. There will be an opportunity too to get knowledge about the funding mechanisms for within the new Mediterranean cooperation programme Euro-MED.
The Interreg Euro-MED Academy is the result of the spontaneous collaboration between the eight Thematic Communities and PANORAMED with the support of the Interreg MED Programme’s Joint Secretariat and the coordination of UNIMED – Mediterranean Universities Union as communication lead partner of Sustainable Tourism and Urban Transports Communities.
In this framework, the Sustainable Tourism has recently launched a learning program “#04 Sustainable Tourism and Mobility for the Mediterranean” jointly developed with the Urban Transports community. This program will provide an understanding from theory and real practice of what sustainable tourism is, what challenges destinations sustainability, also deepening on overtourism concept, how destinations are addressing it nowadays, or how they are anticipating to it. Besides, it will also present traditional and innovative practices to ensure sustainable mobility in tourism destinations.
Although major advances have been made in terms of measuring sustainability in tourism, it could be said that there is still a lack of available and harmonised information in a Mediterranean level, especially on a coastal scale, that could provide valuable inputs for planning and management practices and the design of appropriate policies towards a more responsible and sustainable tourism model. The incorporation of quantitative and qualitative data in tourism planning is essential in order to understand coastal territories, set the vision for tourism development and implement tourism strategies at all levels and scales. The methods for measuring tourism sustainability are numerous and usually include the active participation of relevant stakeholders, thus, leading to an integrated approach of coastal and maritime areas.
This panel centres on the benefits that measuring tools can bring to the tourism destinations, specifically in the development and use of sustainable tourism indicators to inform policy. Often indicators have been used to raise awareness about sustainability issues and gain consensus about tourism impacts, but not to promote a better governance or to introduce sustainability as a priority for actual policies. This round table will discuss about how to use tourism sustainability measurements to promote better tourism policies.
The tourism ecosystem is facing several new challenges, from climate change, to the overdemand of tourism and health and safety crises. There is an urgent need to tackle specific issues related to reduce disposable materials and waste, reducing greenhouse emissions, improve water and energy efficiency, or implement new circular economy models. The uptake of already existing tools could be the best opportunity to encourage the tourism ecosystem to properly monitor its activities and improve its environmental performance, as well as to guarantee the development of successful, competitive and resilient destinations and tourism businesses in the future.
This panel centres on specific tools that have been developed by several organisations participating in different European projects and programmes, and will evaluate how the destinations and different tourism stakeholders could adopt these tools that could support the transition towards a more sustainable tourism industry and tourism activities. By exploring how people’s lives have been positively impacted this panel will present the proven solutions that tackle the recurring sustainability problems faced by the Interreg Med destinations. The panellists will share key lessons learned and reflections when considering implementing and scaling the solutions in other destinations across the region.
The Interreg Med Sustainable Tourism Community has welcomed the continuation of a series of projects with the aim to transfer their outputs to more territories of the Mediterranean and beyond. These projects were provided with the opportunity to identify their most concrete outputs, the territories that would be willing to adopt these outputs, the replicability conditions for their adoption, implement them together with the receiving territories in order to incorporate them officially into their operational programmes. The recommendations emerging from the activities of the transferring projects are considered as practices of excellence in terms of transforming ideas, methods and tools into actions that the territories can easily adopt and implement.
This panel centres on the experiences gathered by 6 transferring projects that the Med Sustainable Tourism Community welcomed one year ago and their work during this whole year for the transference of concrete tools and outputs to selected Mediterranean destinations.
Covid-19, despite the impact it has had on the tourism ecosystem, has represented a unique opportunity to rethink the model and reorient it towards sustainability. In this sense, different initiatives have emerged that formulate proposals to regenerate tourism through a socially equitable, environmentally respectful, and economically sustainable model. But, now that recovery is in sight: what have we learned from the pandemic? Has it served to speed up certain processes? What trends will remain over time? Jointly with The Future of Tourism Coalition we will know what the proposals for the tourism of the future are. Also what is the vision of the private sector on the recovery of tourism and from the natural areas that have been one of the great destinations of proximity tourism in the last two years.
This panel involves three approaches to the impacts that the covid have generated on tourism in the last 2 years: the economic approach, the environmental approach and the social and cultural one. The focus will be more on the recovery process than how deep has been the impact. It will try to debate among the main streamlines are on the table to become the tourism models more resilient, sustainable and equitable.
The MED Sustainable Tourism Community has advanced in many fronts, there is a good base of knowledge. However, there is still a lot to be done, specially we still need to act, so that our destinations and tourism businesses are resilient and develop tourism in a sustainable way for our common future. This talk will question and propose actions, let's be brave to act!