On the 2nd of March 2023, we were invited to participate in the Interreg Euro-MED Dialogue4Tourism project’s first event, entitled: Dialogue4Tourism a common vision of tourism governance in the Mediterranean basin. The event was organized by the Legacy of al-Andalus / Andalusian Public Foundation, the Circular Economy and Climate Change Institute of the European Public Law Organization (EPLO), Dialogue4Tourism project’s lead partner and partner respectively, and the Circle the Med Forum. More than 30 participants attended the event physically in Athens (EPLO premises), and many more participated online (through the Circle the Med platform).
Mr. George Alexakis, Vice Governor of Crete on European and International Affairs (Region of Crete), Vice President of CPMR on climate & energy, and Mrs. Maria Papadopoulou, Professor at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), President of the ‘Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency’ (N.E.C.C.A.) presented our Mission. The Region of Crete is lead partner of the Dialogue4Nature project and NTUA is partner of the Community4Nature project, the two governance projects of the Mission4Nature.
Mr. Alexakis took the floor during the Round Table I: “The future of sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean basin”.
Mrs. Papadopoulou took the floor during the Round Table III: “Transformation of Tourism governance. Towards a resilient and climate neutral tourism”. She referred both to her role as member of the NTUA team involved in Community4Nature project and as President of N.E.C.C.A. (Associated Partner of the project). Mrs. Papadopoulou highlighted the link between tourism and natural heritage and the need that these two concepts co-exist in harmony. She mentioned that we need to ensure sustainable development for protected areas without putting more pressure on the habitats and the biodiversity living there. This can be achieved by promoting less invasive forms of tourism, like agritourism, ecotourism and alternative touristic activities (e.g., birdwatching). In her speech, the need for cooperation between both shores of the Mediterranean was stressed, with the design and implementation of common frameworks.. From this angle, she described the activities planned by the Community4Nature project, where a Community of practice will be built, involving a wide range of stakeholders that will work towards the same direction. The ultimate goal is to protect the Mediterranean area with the people and for the people.
During the event, opportunities of cooperation were also presented by several speakers and by different angles, taking into consideration that the Mediterranean Sea is one of the most touristic destinations worldwide. Enhancing sustainable tourism within the Mediterranean region means protecting, restoring and valorizing the natural environment and heritage, strengthening an innovative sustainable economy and promoting green living areas.