February 2, 2022

Tourism and Sustainability: Case Studies from the Mediterranean Region. The II° Webinar of the UNIMED SubNetwork on Mediterranean Tourism. Recording available


On January 26th, 2022 the II° Thematic Webinar of the UNIMED SubNetwork on Mediterranean Tourism “Tourism and Sustainability: Case Studies from the Mediterranean Region” has been held.

More than 30 participants, coming from United Arab Emirates, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey attended the webinar focusing on three particular case studies showing how tourism is related to sustainability from different perspectives.

Sustainable tourism is defined by the UN Environment Program and UN World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

Starting with a provocative question, Is really there some sustainability? Prof. Maria do Rosário Borges & Prof. Joana Lima from the University of Évora and members of the Scientific Team of the Alentejo Sustainable Tourism Observatory (ASTO), presented the first case showing the results of a research conducted in the framework of the ASTO focusing on the residents perceptions in the Alentejo region of Portugal. Residents are, in fact, part of the tourist activity and can contribute to the (un)success of the tourist experience lived in a destination, as their attitudes and behaviors towards visitors influence their decision to return (or not) to the destination. They are one of the tourism actors most affected, in their daily lives, by tourism development and to succesfully develop a sustainable destination it is necessary to involve the community in the planning, management and monitoring of the tourism activity.  This study analysed the Alentejo residents’ profile, as well as their perceptions on tourism impacts (social, cultural, environmental and economic), interaction with visitors and on tourism development.

The full presentation with the data results and further information is available here: Residents Perceptions_Case Study.

The second panelist, Prof. Luisa Carbone, from the University of Tuscia focused on technologies, environment and tourism in Smart Villages. The studies of the urban space in the post-pandemic era makes us reconsider once again the effect that information and communication technologies are producing, no longer only on urban infrastructures, but above all on the community’s perception of the environment capital and tourism resources. The lockdown due to the COVID-19 emergency has given way to rethink not only in technological or economic terms, but has brought out a plurality of different tones and meanings to the increasingly widespread demand for the future, relative to the system of values, lifestyles and the needs of communities, relaunching the role of the so-called smart villages in this perspective. These smart villages are experiencing a new season with sustainable smart-co-working strategies, which place the right of citizens to a high quality of life at the center of territorial marketing interventions, dismissed in its various aspects: urban, social, tourism, economic, environmental and technological. In fact, technologies are therefore central to relaunching the environment and, in particular, there is an interest in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), consolidated tools and methods for redevelopment, sustainability and energy efficiency, the development of resources and business models for tourism development and the development of innovative communication strategies and narrative formats. In this perspective, the intervention intended to emphasize the need for the environmental capital and tourism to be recognized as an economic resource and connected to an interpreting community which, through innovative languages and technologies, can participate and be aware of an informational geography, which transforms the image of the marginality of smart villages.

The full presentation is available here: Solution Heritage_Technologies Environment & Tourism in the Smart Villages

From Itay, for the final intervention we moved in Jordan, where Prof. Malek Jamaliah, from the University of Jordan, focused on Ecotourism and illustrated the case of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Ecotourism is, in fact, a segment of sustainable tourism that applies the sustainability principles to its activities, operations, establishment, and projects in order to conserve the environment and improve the welfare of local communities. The study presented aims to assess ecotourism management practices and strategies in achieving economic, socio-cultural, and environmental sustainability in Dana Biosphere Reserve, the most important ecotourism destination in Jordan, using semistructured interviews with key informants. The results indicate that Dana has implemented a variety of management practices addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities, including development of alternative livelihoods, visitor management, zoning, environmental monitoring, environmental education, and involvement of local communities, to mention some of the aspects. However, there are considerable barriers and challenges that hinder the achievement of sustainable development and among them the lack of financial capability, poaching, climate change, reserve-local conflicts.

The full presentation is available here: Ecotourism practices in Dana


If you missed the webinar, you can find the recording here

More information about the UNIMED SubNetwork on Mediterranean Tourism is available here.