Tourism is a cross-cutting industry, which affects quality of life of local population the economic development of the Mediterranean coastal areas, as well as the environment and the cultural heritage. Therefore tourism “can not be managed neither by free markets nor a central planner, the only way is to promote a shared policy involving all stakeholders” affirmed Prof. Antonio Magliulo at the conference “Re-connecting Tourism: promoting evidence-based policies for sustainable development”, an international conference organised by the MED Sustainable Tourism Community, an Interreg MED Programme initiative, on the 29-30 May 2018 hosted by the UNINT – University of International Studies of Rome.
This event gathered representatives of the 18 projects – co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – which make up the MED Sustainable Tourism Community, as well as national and international policymakers. It focused on the adequacy of monitoring processes and management practices to improve the sustainability of tourism models, through an analysis of data gaps, main tourism pressures and presentations of alternative tourism models.
Participants interacted in three panels moderated by the partners of Interreg MED Programme-funded BleuTourMed project, which animates the Community, and during a high level round-table, in order to influence policy makers, transfer their results and recommendations, and create learning opportunities.
From the exchanges emerged the necessity to re-connect tourism with hosting territories as a tool to promote the sustainable development of the Mediterranean coastal area. To tackle such a crucial and cross-cutting sector like tourism we need to promote a more open and inclusive governance involving all the stakeholders, as well as an evidence-based policy making process.
The Interreg MED-funded projects of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community are actively working on the ground and gather precious data and knowledge. The tools to collect data should be improved by implementing strategies to ensure the sustainability of data systems on the long term, and by adopting open data systems that enhance the involvement of a greater number of actors. However, the Community should also make a greater effort in communicating better their results by adopting a more marketing-oriented approach to inform the policy making process.
The diversification of the tourism offer has also emerged as a much needed strategy to ease the multiple pressures of mass tourism based on the sun-sand-sea model on local populations, the environment and the natural resources. These offers should be designed by involving all the stakeholders of the tourism sector and also by taking into account tourists expectation and motivations in order to keep providing “extra-ordinary” experiences, which should be sustainable.
Re-connecting Tourism: Promoting Evidence-based Policies For Sustainable Development // 29-30 May 2018, Rome, Italy
The first panel “EVIDENCES FOR BETTER POLICIES: monitoring the sustainability of tourism to inform the policy-making process” moderated by Josep Rodríguez, Barcelona Provincial Council, focused on recommendations to monitor the sustainability of tourism. Its purpose was to identify the knowledge gaps of policy-making processes, and provide recommendations on how to bridge the data gaps on tourism.
The second panel “BEYOND THE SEA-SAND-SUN MODEL: an integrated vision of tourism pressure to support territorial development strategies” moderated by Nelly Bourlion, Plan Bleu, focused on the mass tourism model and its related pressures in the Mediterranean region, trying to provide an integrated vision of the impacts of tourism in order to build territorial and regional development strategies.
The objective of the third panel, “WHAT SHOULD WE CHANGE? Innovative management and planning strategies for sustainable tourism” moderated by Andrea Di Girolamo, Adriatic Ionian Euroregion, provided recommendations for the implementation of innovative management and planning strategies to reduce the impacts of tourism in the Mediterranean region.
Finally, a high-level roundtable “WHEN IS TOURISM REALLY WELCOME? Political and economic solutions to make tourism sustainable” moderated by Antonio Magliulo, Academic Committee of NECSTouR and Professor of Economics at UNINT, gathered high level representatives from the Italian and European political institutions and the economic sectors, namely Iuliana Gabriela Aluas, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Growth, European Commission, Francesco Tapinassi, Directorate-general for Tourism of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, and Alfredo Malcarne, Vice President of the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce.
The original article is available here.