Fostering sustainable tourism in Mediterranean islands and protected areas

Hi everyone!

I’m Laura and I’m celebrating my first month at the Conference of the Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) as an IVY! I mainly support the Islands Commission (CPMR-IC) and the Intermediterranean Commission (CPMR-IMC) in the follow-up and the implementation of two Interreg projects, namely WINTER MED and DestiMED PLUS. I am working with Ilaria Buttu, who is also an Interreg volunteer at the CPMR-IMC and with whom I enjoy working on these projects.

Both WINTER MED and DestiMED PLUS have the objective to secure the development of sustainable and responsible tourism in the Mediterranean area. More specifically, the WINTER MED project tackles the social and environmental consequences of high seasonality of marine and coastal tourism in Mediterranean islands by promoting the transition towards responsible and sustainable all year-round tourism offers. DestiMED PLUS links sustainable tourism and conservation by supporting Mediterranean regions to strengthen the enabling conditions for ecotourism in their protected areas.

Passionate about the marine environment and sustainable development, I completed an LL.M in Global Environment and Climate Change Law at the University of Edinburgh with a specialization in the law of the sea. Therefore, I felt very enthusiastic about joining the CPMR, which dedicate part of its activities to the development of European Cooperation Projects in line with their member’s priorities, and I feel grateful to be able to participate in the communication and capitalisation activities of these two projects.

This IVY experience is an insightful opportunity to gain experience in the management of European projects but also to discover from the inside how the European cohesion policy works and how it is translated into concrete actions. Indeed, WINTER MED and DestiMED PLUS both gather various partners from the Mediterranean area. These territories, especially islands, are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and they face important environmental and social challenges. The European cohesion policy, through projects, allow all the stakeholders to collaborate, to identify good practices and to develop joint strategies and approaches to move from mass tourism to responsible ecotourism. European projects provide opportunity to various stakeholders to give visibility to local initiatives and to share their experience with others, paving the way to the replication of the projects’ outcomes in other European regions.

I would like to specifically highlight the Winter Med project, for which we are currently involved in the capitalisation activities. I think this project is of high interest for European territories and islands. WINTER MED addresses a double challenge: the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of islands and the social impacts of seasonal tourism. We have just published the joint strategy for sustainable all-year-round tourism in Mediterranean island destinations 2021-2026, one of the milestones of the project that builds on the experience of the partners. This strategy will allow the replication of the project in other European islands. I find this project inspiring! Tourism is an important economic driver for islands, and this project is an opportunity for tourism stakeholders to define and implement a common strategy in line with the objectives set by the Paris Agreement.

To conclude, I would like to thank once again the Interreg programme for allowing young professionals to get involved in such passionate and meaningful projects! I would also like to thank the CPMR, especially my supervisors, for their confidence and thanks to whom I am learning every day!

Laura Chiron, IVY Project Partner at CPMR

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