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The Biosphere Destinations lead the way for sustainability in Fitur International Tourism Fair

(Rome, 8 February 2019) – The Biosphere Destination Community met on 23-27 January at the International Tourism Fair Fitur in Madrid. This Community revolves around the Biosphere seal, a sustainability certification, granted by the Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI) to destinations who balance the economic, socio-cultural and environmental dimensions of its biodiversity area. 

This is of particular interest to UNIMED, which is partner in EduBioMed, a project aiming at capacity building for education and applied research on Mediterranean UNESCO’s biosphere reserves in the wider framework of the biosphere reserves -BR, the UNESCO label for “areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use”. On the occasion of this event, different presentations were made by Biosphere destinations such as Barcelona, Ibagué-Tolima, Historic Aldeias of Portugal, Thompson Okanagan or Sitges, and several meetings took place between major tourist groups (communicators, companies and destinations). Such meetings got together these destinations involved in tourism sustainability, working towards the fulfilment of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal – UN SDG.

The event represented a great opportunity for the different sustainable tourism stakeholders to meet and share best practices, experiences and researches. It was also the occasion for the city of Barcelona to pass the torch of the Community’s coordination on to the region of Thompson Okanagan (Canada) for the year 2019. The communicators of sustainable tourism, such as reporters, youtubers and influencers were also given a great share at this event, considering their significant influence on the transmission of values such as sustainability.

The meeting of the Biosphere Destination Community at FITUR 2019 was also an occasion for building the partnerships, including the signature of a  collaboration agreement for training between the International center for training and knowledge transfer in hospitality, tourism and gastronomy (CETT) and the RTI. The terms of the agreement foresee different cooperation projects like an online training programme with university centers and public administrations.

This point is very relevant to the EduBioMed project, which acts in collaboration with such stakeholders as well as with citizens and EU partners, with an objective to strengthen, ameliorate and upgrade academic activity at four Moroccan and Lebanese Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The project includes the building of an infrastructure for the flow of knowledge made of IT systems for data management and sharing, “citizen science” tools to engage civil society as co-producer of knowledge, training for teachers from the South at a Winter School in Europe, international mobility and internship schemes for teachers and learners to conduct collaborative case study research in BRs and a Winter School for teachers and BR managers for an interchange of expertise.

You can access the full report of the Biosphere Destination Community meeting at FITUR here and discover the EduBioMed project here.  

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