MED Sustainable Tourism community

The tourism sector is among the most income-generating in the Mediterranean. Leisure-related activities make tourism a leading economic sector in terms of gross value added and employment. Tourism contributes directly to regional economies with sectoral synergies and strong multiplier effects.

Despite its economic and social importance, the development of tourism exerts undue pressure on the natural and built environment. These pressures can threaten the quality of life of local populations, degrade tourism assets and therefore negatively affect future tourism developments. Harnessing the full potential of tourism requires an innovative approach and a sustainable foundation. Therefore, effective strategies and targeted integrated actions should be developed and implemented throughout the Mediterranean region.

Created in November 2016 within the framework of the Interreg MED program under the name of BleuTourMed, the MED Sustainable Tourism Community has been renewed for a period of three years until June 2022, in order to make tourism a real engine of inclusive growth and sustainable.

Since 2019, five new territorial cooperation projects (LABELSCAPE, SuSTowns. WINTER MED, INCIRCLE and DESTIMED PLUS) have joined the Community, which now includes 22 projects co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), nearly 300 organizations ( public authorities, private companies, universities, NGOs and international organisations) active in 12 Euro-Mediterranean coastal areas. Besides, two Strategic Projects, approved in October 2019, focusing on governance of sustainable tourism will join forces with the Community.

More specifically, Community members lead the development of innovative tools to monitor the tourism industry, they study and test new tourism models and they actively engage policy makers and managers in a constant dialogue to make tourism a true driver of inclusion and sustainability. development.

One of the main objectives of the sustainable tourism community is to replicate its most tangible achievements in other regions of the Mediterranean and to achieve greater visibility and maximum implementation.

Plan Bleu is a partner of the MED Community of Sustainable Tourism, territorial branch of France, and Horizontal Angel of 5 projects: DestiMED, DESTIMED PLUS, Coasting, Co-Evolve and Alter Eco.

Key objectives:

1. Strengthen the attractiveness and the tourist offer: Alternatives to mass tourism (sun and beach) taking advantage of local / regional resources: underwater heritage, culinary heritage, ecotourism in protected areas, mountain, fishing tourism, cycle tourism. ..

2. Dealing with tourism pressures: reducing the impact of tourism activities (water consumption, waste production, management of tourist flows, carrying capacity) and circular economy

3. Strengthen planning and management practices: measure sustainability, develop indicators and planning tools. Support integrated planning and manage tourist flows.

Through the planned transfer processes of the sustainable tourism community, the community aims to replicate its most tangible results in other regions of the Mediterranean and achieve maximum visibility and implementation with:

  • Cooperation: representatives of the public and private sectors willing to exchange their existing management strategies based on other experiences.
  • Transform methods into sustainable demonstrative actions.
  • Networking
  • Multiply effect: territories adopt models and invest resources and initiatives.
  • Set of monitoring practices: a series of indicators developed to measure the sustainability of tourism.

Key publications :

Projects of the Community:

  • ALTER ECO: Alternative tourist strategies to enhance the local sustainable development of tourism by promoting Mediterranean Identity.
  • BLUEISLANDS: Seasonal variation of waste as effect of tourism.
  • BLUEMED: Plan/test/coordinate Underwater Museums, Diving Parks and Knowledge Awareness Centres in order to support sustainable and responsible tourism development and promote Blue growth in coastal areas and islands of the Mediterranean.
  • CASTWATER: Coastal areas sustainable tourism water management in the Mediterranean.
  • COASTING: Defining a common methodology for integrated coastal tourism using ICZM, coastal contracts and bay contracts.
  • CO-EVOLVE: Promoting the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems for the development of sustainable coastal and maritime tourism.
  • CONSUME-LESS: Consume Less in Mediterranean Touristic Communities.
  • DestiMED: Mediterranean Ecotourism Destination: main components (joint planning, monitoring, management and promotion) for a governance system in Mediterranean protected areas.
  • EMbleMatiC: Emblematic Mediterranean Mountains as Coastal destinations of excellence.
  • HERIT DATA: Sustainable Heritage Management towards Mass Tourism Impact thanks to a holistic use of Big and Open Data
  • INHERIT: Natural heritage tourism for the Mediterranean coastal and maritime areas.
  • MEDCYCLETOUR: MEDiterranean CYcle route for sustainable coastal
    TOURism. MEDFEST: MED Culinary heritage experiences: how to create sustainable tourist destinations.
  • MITOMED+: Models of Integrated Tourism in the MEDiterranean.
  • ShapeTourism: New shape and drives for the tourism sector: supporting decision, integrating plans and ensuring sustainability.
  • SIROCCO: Sustainable InterRegional cOastal & Cruise maritime tourism through Cooperation and joint planning
  • TOURISMED: Tourism fisheries towards a sustainable development in the Mediterranean Region.
  • LABELSCAPE: Integration of sustainability labels in Mediterranean tourism policies
  • SuSTowns: improving sustainable tourist attraction in fascinating small Mediterranean towns
  • WINTER MED: Network of winter islands for a year-round tourist experience in the Mediterranean
  • INCIRCLE: Supporting island and low-density areas in the transition to a more CIRCULAR tourism economy
  • DESTIMED PLUS: Ecotourism in Mediterranean destinations: from monitoring and planning to advocacy and policy support

Project Partners

The MED sustainable tourism community is coordinated by DIBA – Provincial Council of Barcelona (Spain), in partnership with:

  • UNIMED – Union des Universités Méditerranéennes (Italie),
  • l’Université de Thessalie (Grèce),
  • NECSTour – Réseau des régions européennes pour un tourisme compétitif et durable (Belgique),
  • Arc Latin – réseau des pouvoirs publics locaux (Espagne),
  • Plan Bleu – Centre d’activités régionales du PNUE/PAM (France),
  • Adriatic and Ionian Euroregion (Croatia) and
  • RDA Green Karst – Agence de développement régional (Slovénie).

Associated Partners

  • Association MedCities
  • Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)
  • European Tourism Association (ETOA)
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature – Mediterranean Centre
  • Mediterranean experience of Ecotourism Network (MEET Network)
  • Observatory on Tourism in the European Islands (OTIE)
  • National Research Council – Earth system science and environmental technologies Department
  • Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME)
  • Central Europe Initiative (CEI) – Executive Secretariat
  • University of Jordan
  • University of the Aegean
  • Cyprus University of Technology
  • Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Chamber of Commerce
  • Stratégies Mer et Littoral
  • Tourism Organisation of Herceg Novi
  • ASS U Marinu CPIE Bastia Golo Méditerranée
  • University of Maribor – Faculty of Tourism
  • Eurorégion Pyrénées-Méditerranée GECT

Publications :

Policy factsheets :

Ensuring an effective monitoring of Tourism Sustainability in the Mediterranean Region

Promoting alternative tourism models to reduce pressures in the Mediterranean Region

Tourism as a strategic driver for the inclusive, responsible and sustainable growth in the Mediterranean Region

Governance as a tool for sustainable and responsible tourism in the Mediterranean Region

Thematic papers:

Identifying challenges and gaps towards sustainable and responsible coastal and maritime tourism in the Mediterranean

Measuring tourism sustainability in the MED area

Reducing tourism pressures in the MED area

Increasing tourism benefits in the MED area

Improving tourism governance in the MED area

Towards a responsible and sustainable tourism model in the Mediterranean

Thematic factsheets

MED Sustainable Tourism Community’s Kick off Meeting

MED Sustainable Tourism Community’s spatial context

MED Sustainable Tourism Community From methods to results

MED Sustainable Tourism Community The Community’s activities- Urban destinations

MED Sustainable Tourism Community The Community’s activities- Coastal destinations

MED Sustainable Tourism Community The Community’s activities- Islands

Scientific publications

Boosting Rural Areas Revitalization in the Mediterranean through Cross-cutting Approach Based on Ecological and Social Resilience

Conceptualising Tourism Sustainability and Operationalising Its Assessment: Evidence from a Mediterranean Community of Projects

Challenges and Gaps towards Sustainable Coastal and Maritime Tourism in the Mediterranean

Policy document “Med Declaration for a smarter and greener sustainable tourism ecosystem in the Mediterranean region

Catalogue of outputs of the Interreg Med project “Sustainable Tourism Community”

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