Tourism illustrates an important source of revenues and employment in the Mediterranean area. At the same time it implicates enormous negative impacts for nature and society. Some years ago, the concept of ecotourism appeared. What does this imply for the MED area? Unfortunately not much.
Despite increasing international efforts to create harmonized concepts, agreed definitions and quality standards are missing in the MED area. Due to the lack of coherent planning and monitoring and seriously perceived promotion, ecotourism in the MED does not yet constitute a real alternative. This could be changed through a governance system for ecotourism in protected areas, e.g. constituted through a destination management organisation (DMO). Such DMO could harmonize quality standards and tools to monitor compliance, propose attractive ecotourism offers promoted through a lasting brand.
This is where the project DestiMED comes into play aiming to build pre-conditions for a DMO.
DestiMED aims at building the pre-conditions for a Mediterranean destination management organization (DMO) that will harmonize quality standards and tools to monitor compliance, propose attractive ecotourism offers promoted through a lasting brand. Specifically, the project will further develop and test ecotourism standards, offers and monitoring tools in 13 protected areas around the basin - forming the quality scheme of a future DMO. It will build on results of the MEET (Mediterranean Ecotourism Experience) project that created and tested planning and marketing approaches. These will be enriched by a monitoring tool.
1. Mediterranean Ecotourism Destinations Standards: Creating a “quality” framework at interregional level (Mediterranean ecotourism sustainability standard and monitoring),
2. Monitoring system to assess the level of sustainability of tourism offer at Park level: enhancing the reasonable use of resources (local destinations sustainability checks and trainings)
3. DestiMED Ecotourism products: supporting stakeholder’s integration (local clusters and regional representation) through an integrated, transversal and territorially based cooperation approach.
4. Guidelines for the establishment of eco-tourism management plans for Mediterranean Protected Areas: prepare the framework of the forthcoming governance system (DMO) for Mediterranean Ecotourism in Protected Areas.
IUCN Med will be responsible of: (i) the coordination of the Communication work package, where it will ensure smooth communication within and outside the project as well as the promotion of the DestiMED ecotourism packages; (ii) the coordination of the Transferability work package, to make sure that the methodologies and results applied by the project are known and used in the respective territories, and also at national and regional scale.
IUCN Med will also play an important role in the definition of the Mediterranean Ecotourism standard and a related monitoring tool for the sustainability of Ecotourism in protected areas. Furthermore, it will be responsible of the coordination and management of three pilot sites in the Project area.
This project is led by Lazio Region, and involves six other partners from the Mediterranean basis the IUCN Mediterranean Centre for Cooperation, FEDERPARCHI – Europarc (Italy), MEDPAN – Mediterranean Protected Area Network, WWF Adria and WWF Mediterranean Programme and National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) in Albania.
2.5 million for the whole project.
EU Med programme structural funds (85%) and MAVA foundation (15%)