May 29, 2019

The Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention 2019: tourism as a driver for sustainable and inclusive growth


On the 5th – 7th June 2019, in Barcelona, the MED Sustainable Tourism Community, of which UNIMED is partner, will celebrate the first edition of the Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention 2019. The participants to this key event, where over 70 speakers and 200 participants, from public and private tourism sector and relevant stakeholders, will encounter, debate and propose solutions for boosting future strategies and policies on key issues linked to sustainable tourism in the region. Representatives from UNIMED and its “SubNetwork on Mediterranean Tourism” will intervene in the debates.

(Rome, 24 May 2019) “Tourism can be a driver for sustainable and inclusive growth for the whole Mediterranean region, southern countries included” affirmed Marcello Scalisi, Director of UNIMED – Mediterranean Universities Union. “In fact, MENA countries welcomed 87 millions international tourists in 2018, who generated USD 77 billion of revenues in 2017, according to a recent study of the UNWTO – United Nations World Tourism Organisation” continued Mr. Scalisi “but to take advantage of this, MENA countries should develop their skills for a sustainable management of tourist destinations and flows; of course higher education institutions have a crucial role to play by promoting knowledge sharing and by providing opportunities for capacity building.

Since November 2016, UNIMED is the partner responsible for communication and dissemination of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community, an Interreg MED Programme’s initiative, which gathers 17 territorial cooperation projects, active in 12 northern Mediterranean countries and involving more than 200 partner organisations. On the 5th – 7th June 2019, in Barcelona (Spain), this community will celebrate its final event the “Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention 2019”. An event that aims at bringing its contribution to the debate on key topics related to the promotion of sustainable tourism, as a factor for sustainable and inclusive growth in the Mediterranean region. Representatives from UNIMED and its SubNetwork on Mediterranean Tourism will intervene in the debates. Most notably, the convention will feature the intervention of:

_/ Dr. Marcello Scalisi, Director of UNIMED, intervening at the opening “Shaping sustainable tourism policies: views from the supranational level” on 5 June, 17:30 – 18:15;

_/ Professor Maria Gravari-Barbas, Vice-Provost for International Relations at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, intervening in the workshop “Facing overtourism: challenges to sustainability, tourists’ experiences and local communities” on Thursday 6 June, 9:30-11:00;

_/ Professor José Antonio Donaire, Vice-Rector for Communication and International Relations, University of Girona, intervening in the workshop “Tourism multiple footprints: impacts on environment and communities” on 6 June, 11:30-13:00;

_/ Mr. Jan Van der Borg, Director of the Master Intercultural Development of Tourism Systems, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, intervening at the workshop “Data and knowledge-based management of tourist destinations” on 6 June, 11:30-13:00;

_/ Professor Ramon Serrat, Teacher and Researcher, School of Tourism, Hospitality and Gastronomy CETT-University of Barcelona (UB), moderating the debate “The diversification of the tourism offer in the Mediterranean” on 6 June, 14:30-16:00.

The full programme of the entire event is accessible here

The Convention will gather 70 speakers and more than 200 participants from public authorities, private sectors, academic institutions and international organisations, coming from the Mediterranean region. It will feature the intervention of representatives of local, national and international public authorities such as: the Ministries of Tourism of Croatia and Greece, the Tourism Board of Portugal; key regional destinations such as Toscana, Catalunya, Occitanie, Valencia, Thessaly, Lazio and Emilia Romagna; urban destinations like Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Genoa and Limassol; as well as the European Commission, NECSTour – Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism and the UfM – Union for Mediterranean, among others.

The private sector’s stance will be represented in the Convention by the World Travel and Tourism Council, the European Tourism Association and Exceltur – the Alliance for Excellence in Tourism. Of particular relevance is the participation of academic institutions like Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Surrey University, the University of Girona, CETT-UB, the main tourism faculties from Catalonia region and UNIMED – Mediterranean Universities Union, which associates 118 Universities from 23 countries of both shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

A great contribution to the debates will be given by international organisations developing and promoting standards and certifications on sustainable tourism such as the GSTC – Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the RTI – Responsible Tourism Institute. In an exhibition area within the Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention 2019, participants will have the opportunity to discover the projects of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community. Particularly the visitors will have the chance to know more on the solutions and innovative strategies that these projects have been developing, designing and implementing as pilot actions in the northern Mediterranean shores within the framework of the Interreg MED Programme.

Besides the general exhibition, some territorial projects will be organising side events along the Convention such as:

  • DestiMED project, that will organise an open workshop and demonstration of the project’s achievements, presenting several tools implemented during the project cycle (more info here)
  • CO-EVOLVE project, that will feature a dissemination event on “Promoting the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems in MED touristic coastal areas” (more info here)
  • MITOMED+ project, that will animate a policy learning seminar (more info here)

The participants will be invited to discover what sustainable tourism means in Barcelona and its surrounding territory by joining one of the four site visits:

  • Gaudi’s Crypt in Colonia Güell and Llobregat Delta – Baix Llobregat
  • Penedes wine region: Wine road and Subirats Station
  • Port of Barcelona
  • Natural Park Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac

The Convention is organised by the Barcelona Provincial Council and the BleuTourMed project in partnership with CETT – UB (School of Tourism, Hospitality and Gastronomy of the University of Barcelona) and the Hotel Alimara and will count on HostelTur and SmartTravelNews as media partners.

To discover more on the Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention 2019:

Visit the dedicated website

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