Creating space for innovative sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean region

25 organizations from the Mediterranean region gather in Málaga (Spain) using Collective Impact approach to leverage ecotourism as a tool for sustainable development and conservation.

Ebro Delta - Biosphere reserve (Spain)

Around 25 organizations from six Mediterranean countries are meeting today for a one-day Think Tank style event, during which participants will come together to discuss how they can work together collectively to address the impacts of tourism in the Mediterranean on biodiversity, while better leveraging ecotourism as a tool for sustainable development and conservation.

The Think Tank event is designed to create an intimate space for discussion which will allow participants to identify common goals, create new collaboration opportunities, and design common projects that build off existing outcomes.

Think Tank event is hosted by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med) and the City of Málaga, together with the MEET Network Association and the partners of Interreg Med DestiMED project,  which is led by Regione Lazio (Italy).

Organizations were invited based on their potential to contribute to the dynamic discussions and benefit from the opportunity to engage with other stakeholders working toward shared objectives.

Given the impact of the tourism sector on Mediterranean communities and nature alike, we are setting ambitious goals to help reduce the environmental impact of tourism on our coastline and to help protected areas leverage ecotourism as a mechanism to achieve their conservation goals,¨ said Antonio Troya, IUCN-Med´s Director.  ¨But it will be impossible to do any of this on our own. We need to establish a common agenda that will enable several partner organizations to come together, contribute their own ideas and expertise, and move toward innovative solutions to complex issues”.

“Through our own innovative local initiatives and as evidenced by our participation in several EU projects, the City of Málaga is making a serious commitment to ensure that our thriving tourism economy works for everyone, and that includes biodiversity”, said Luis Medina-Montoya Hellgren, Director of Environment and Sustainability at the City of Málaga.. “We are proud to welcome so many well-respected conservation and development organizations, as well as public sector actors, to discuss collaboration on these critical topics”.

IUCN Med has been working with a consortium of partners on tourism related initiatives for several years, helping to foster a network of protected areas focused on ecotourism development and working together with Global Footprint Network in designing an innovative approach to measuring the environmental impact of tourism products based on the Ecological Footprint methodology.

Recent work has been done under the framework of DestiMED project, which is funded by the Interreg Med Programme. DestiMED supports Mediterranean protected areas and their private sector partners by providing them with tools to develop, manage, and promote high quality eco-tourism packages that benefit conservation while minimizing the impacts of tourism on natural and cultural resources.

As an outcome of DestiMED, the MEET Network (www.meetnetwork.org) was formally established, creating a regional association and Destination Management Organization for ecotourism in Mediterranean protected areas, among which the park members include Sierra Nevada National Park in Andalusia. MEET is helping to shift the market perception of the Mediterranean offer toward a 4C Tourism model: Conservation, Compassion, Connection, and Community.

 

For further information: Jeremy Sampson

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