Why & How
Ecotourism respects the resources of a Protected Area (PA) destination and the well-being of the people living in and around it whilst also, providing incentives for conservation and operating in off-season.In order for this sustainable development model to be a feasible alternative in Mediterranean PAs, enabling conditions around governance and policy-making must be strengthened to foster a balance between the sometimes conflicting interests of the conservation and tourism sectors.
Currently, these conditions are weak at both the local and regional levels for Mediterranean PAs. Due to the fact that governance is often fragmented, and tourism and environmental agendas rarely align which means ecotourism has little opportunity to thrive. Furthermore, Mediterranean conservation efforts continue to struggle over key anthropogenic drivers such as mass-tourism. Not to mention, at the other end of the spectrum, private sector skills and political support are insufficient for sustainable alternatives such as ecotourism to blossom.
DestiMED PLUS is the next step on a journey to promote integrated planning in coastal tourism, where regional policymakers apply holistic policies that link tourism with conservation. They will do so, by jointly developing ecotourism itineraries in Mediterranean Protected Areas (PAs), as a concrete example of ICZM application.
The project builds on the success of MEET and DestiMED, and will support 9 Mediterranean regions and respective Protected Areas through enhancing cross-sectoral local and regional policies, improving integrated planning strategies, and providing stakeholders with effective training and tools to manage, measure, and promote ecotourism.