Sustainable Tourism in the Mediterranean: State of Play and Strategic Directions

Over time the Mediterranean region has developed a unique blend of tourism activities associated with sea, health, sports, nature, business, as well as cruise and culture, offering consistent employment (11% of total employment) and economic growth (11% of regional GDP). However, the economic growth due to tourism development has often been to the detriment of environmental integrity and social equity. Sea-Sand-Sun (3S) dependency, weak governance and degradation of cultural heritage, environmental pollution and resource depletion, contribution to climate change and climate vulnerability, political insecurity and social instability, economic and human capital leakage are some of the issues that threaten the longterm sustainability of the Mediterranean region and the tourism sector itself.

Inherent societal characteristics and the exponential development of the tourism sector are generating a need for a dedicated set of actions to be included in Strategic Directions for Sustainable Tourism in the Mediterranean to be implemented by regional, national and local policymakers and stakeholders under the following shared vision:“Promote sustainable Mediterranean tourism in which visitors and hosts enjoy balanced, respectful and fruitful relationships and value the unique Mediterranean environmental, human and cultural heritage, while ensuring inclusive socio-economic development, taking into account the carrying capacity of healthy natural ecosystems, and developing complementarity between various economic activities at the tourist destination level.”.”

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