The WINTER MED partnership has succeeded in fulfilling one of its main commitments: the elaboration of a transnational strategy for all year-round tourism in Mediterranean Island Destinations. After months of fruitful exchanges and preparation with all the partners, the strategy sets out a joint vision for sustainable tourism development. The final version is now available for consultation together with a shorter executive summary.

The Mediterranean is one of the most attractive areas for marine and coastal tourism, attracting around 30% of world’s tourism. Mediterranean islands have experienced an important development and have become popular destinations for tourism. Nevertheless, if tourism is an important source of economic growth for Mediterranean regions, it also brings significant pressure on natural resources and cultural heritage, especially during summer. Indeed, Mediterranean islands are commonly known for being “3 S” destinations (Sun, Sea & Sand), leading to important threats to the marine and coastal environment and leading to economic uncertainty of islanders during winter.

 

In order to change this, the WINTER MED project committed to the delivery of a Transnational Year-Round Tourism Strategy for Mediterranean Island Destinations 2021-2026, one of the most important keystones of the WINTER MED project. Building on best practices, lessons learned and the experience of the 6 pilots’ sites of the project - Tuscany, Cyprus, South Aegean, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Corse, and Balearic Islands- and their Regional Action Plans, the WINTER MED strategy aims to lead sustainable tourism development in a collaborative manner, fostering dialogue, ownership, growth, innovation, and action and to help protect Mediterranean island destinations for future generations.

 

The strategy is based on the seven values of sustainability, inclusivity, safety, competitiveness, gender equality, digitalization, and high quality, while the overarching goal is to foster a transnational perspective and cooperation between regions. The strategy is also built on specific strategic axes, including innovation, governance, connectivity, biodiversity and waste management. To effectively trigger transnational change, funding, capacity building, business intelligence, product development and communication and marketing are considered key. Thus, this strategy merges capacity building, financial support, integration, participation, and delivers tools for change.

 

The WINTER MED partnership is now committed to a new challenge: to disseminate and scale up the strategy beyond the project and the partners’ regions, therefore contributing to enhance the development of sustainable and responsible tourism beyond Mediterranean islands.