1 - Can you identify the role and missions of your organization?
Created in 1973 and gathering around 150 Member Regions from 24 States from the European Union and beyond, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) was created to ensure that needs and interests of its Member Regions are taken into account in EU policies with a high territorial impact.
It focuses mainly on social, economic and territorial cohesion, maritime policies and blue growth, and accessibility. European governance, energy and climate change, neighbourhood and development also represent important areas of activity for the organisation. The CPMR is a unique non-for-profit organisation, being sub-divided into six Geographical Commissions (GCs), corresponding to Europe’s maritime basins. The two GCs which respond to the needs of the Mediterranean basin and which are de facto involved in the WINTER MED project are the CPMR Intermediterranean Commission (IMC) and the CPMR Islands Commission (IC). Both GCs gather around 40 Mediterranean Member Regions and are working with them on the development of the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and territorial cooperation, concentrating its efforts on Transport and Integrated Maritime Policy, Economic and Social Cohesion, Water and Energy.
2 - Why are you participating in the WINTER MED project?
As capitalisation activities coordinator, the CPMR IMC/IC is mainly in charge of developing and implementing the project capitalisation strategy which include elaborating an Engagement forum, a Policy paper, launching an Advocacy campaign and organising the Final capitalisation conference together with the support of the whole partners. In addition, the CPMR IM/IC supports communication activities - which are usually closely linked to capitalisation activities - in particular by participating in regular follow-up meetings with the MED Sustainable Tourism Community but also by assisting the Corsica Tourism Agency (ATC) in the implementation of all the promotional activities of the project. Being a network of over 40 Mediterranean regions and 20 islands, counting on a Task Force dedicated to Sustainable and Cultural Tourism, the CPMR-IMC/IC finally plays an important role in transferring activities and especially in the definition, dissemination and implementation of the WINTER MED transnational Strategy for all year round tourism in Island Destinations, not only in the Mediterranean but in all EU islands.
The CPMR has been involved in several past and ongoing projects (CO-EVOLVE, MITOMED+, HERIT-DATA, DestiMED+ etc), and promoting/following several initiatives related to sustainable tourism, biodiversity protection & ICZM/MSP (e.g. Bologna Charter/UfM works). By taking part in this project, the CPMR-IMC/IC would extend and give more impact on the actions developed to tackle the seasonality of tourism in Mediterranean island destinations. Taking part in the WINTERMED project is also a unique opportunity to target and give specific solutions to islands territories and contributes to the CPMR IC landline in considering insular particularities as per art 175 TFEU. Besides, their members would benefit from the efforts towards the implementation of integrated strategies for the development of sustainable and responsible tourism in Mediterranean island destinations.
3 - What is the economic weight of tourism for your region?
Tourism has an important economic weight in the Mediterranean Region, with more than 300 million tourists per year and an important number of countries highly dependent on tourism in terms of share of GDP (e.g. 25,1% in Croatia in 2019, 22,7% in Cyprus, 11,6% in Malta, 21,2% in Greece, 14,6% in Spain but also 21,7% in Montenegro, 27% in Albania and 19,5% in Lebanon). This is even more tangible in the island regions (Madeira, Canaries, Balearics, Corsica, Sardinia, etc.) where tourism arises up to 30% of their total income. This sector has major social impacts (employment, notably for youth and women), as the actual crisis is demonstrating, the Mediterranean region being among the worst affected areas economically and socially speaking.
4 - What are the high periods of tourist attendance?
As most of the Mediterranean touristic destinations are concentrated on coastal and island areas and focus on a “sun and sea” tourism model, summer season (May to September) remains the high period of tourist attendance, with the highest attendance on July and August.
5 - What projects or actions have you implemented to make tourism more sustainable?
The CPMR-IMC/IC are part of diverse Interreg MED projects whose objectives and strategies create obvious synergies with the WINTER MED project. Both Commissions participate in the DestiMED+ and BEST MED projects which aim to promote ecotourism and a more sustainable touristic planning in the region through a better cooperation between policymakers and increasing data-based knowledge. The resulting outputs and knowledge can be shared with WINTER MED partners. The CPMR also contributed to the CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project, disseminating and communicating the project’s results and achievements regarding transport and integrated maritime policy in touristic cities and areas. Then, the CPMR-IMC is currently supporting the HERIT-DATA, capitalizing on project innovative data-based solutions to mass tourism in 6 pilot sites around the Mediterranean. It also supports, together with the CPMR-IC, the SMARTMED project to counter high seasonality and lack of cooperation among key sector stakeholders. Finally, in the recent past, the CPMR-IMC took part in other Interreg MED projects (CO-EVOLVE, MITOMED+, BleuTourMed_C3…) which all had a focus on sustainable tourism, and which still allow the CPMR-IMC to share its experience with the WINTER MED project.
6 – Have you set up tourism sustainability monitoring tools?
The CPMR and its relevant Geographical Commissions capitalised on diverse interesting tools for WINTER MED, and in the framework of several projects. Thus, the CPMR took part in the CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project to set up and disseminate the Sustainable Urban Logistic Plan (SULP), aiming to design a more sustainable urban freight in touristic Mediterranean cities. They also worked on the Shared Use Mobility Agency (SUMA) to assist mobility operators, public authorities and users (citizens and tourists) in their way of a daily sustainable mobility. The CPMR-IMC also participated in the mainstreaming of the CO-EVOLVE toolkit which guides decision makers towards sustainable tourism management through data collection and measurement. Within the same project, the CPMR-IMC was very active concerning the elaboration and dissemination of the Transferability Plan, which can be used to develop capacity building and policy learning programme at different scales. Last, in the framework of MITOMED+, a MED M&C Tourism Management Model have been set up both to assure tourism sustainability and gain competitive advantage, as well as tourism data indicators to help decision makers improve the tourist sustainability of their destination.
7 – Do you have ways to reduce the negative impacts on the environment, culture, society?
The above projects, actions and tools of the CPMR commissions contribute to develop and disseminate undeniably reduce the negative impacts of tourism on the environment, culture and society. Projects participate in the mitigation of transport-related emissions and tourism impacts on the environment, as they foster a better cultural experience in some touristic destinations by countering unsustainable mass tourism. Moreover, the CPMR-IMC, through its political agenda for the promotion of Sustainable Tourism in the Mediterranean, based on the main results of the projects, insists on the needs for:
- An integrated approach to the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems in coastal and maritime areas.
- A Coordinated action of Public Administrations at all levels to achieve sustainable tourism.
- Strengthening the sustainability and cultural aspects of the tourism sector while applying the principles of ICZM (integrated coastal zone management) and Marine spatial planning (MSP) and promoting innovative forms of tourism (eco-tourism, cultural itineraries, protection & promotion of cultural heritage).
- Mainstreaming sustainable tourism in the emerging strategies and initiatives or framework of cooperation at Euromed scale.
This political agenda was endorsed by the CPMR-IMC member regions during its political bureau in 2018.
Moreover, recently the CPMR supports the coalition "Future of Tourism" of "Travel Foundation" to meet the new challenges generated by the 2020 health crisis. Indeed, this new context presents an added urgency and an unprecedented opportunity to build back better.
The CPMR-IC has identified sustainable tourism as one of the top priorities of its Roadmap on the Blue Economy launched at its Plenary Meeting in October 2020, it committed to support and initiate activities to boost maritime and coastal tourism in EU islands.
8 - What measures do you recommend to ensure responsible and sustainable growth?
The CPMR and all its geographical commissions systematically foster co-management, inclusive and participatory approaches in the framework of every project they sustain, at any level (regional, national and transnational).
Then, the CPMR encourages policymakers and stakeholders to include sustainable tourism issues in more global plans. In the current situation, this results in advising that, in the framework of the European recovery plan, the fulfillment of sustainability indicators should be one of the key conditions to the allocations of funds to any kind of project proposed in this regard.
Then, including tourism notably in national recovery plans is fundamental, while local and regional authorities should be fully part of their elaboration, development and implementation processes, reflecting at the same time the diversity of territories, among which those in particular need of them.
Last, the CPMR also encourage the tourism private sector to be proactive and take incentives regarding sustainable and innovative practices, for example by exploiting available public knowledge to strengthen their actions in this sense.
9 - What governance mechanisms do you propose?
The CPMR IMC/IC encourages and proposes multi-level governance policies, based on a participatory approach and implying local, regional and national authorities, civil society, citizens, and the private sector alike while including short, medium-and long-term objectives. It also underlines that both the upcoming strategy and action plan on EU tourism should include appropriate coordination mechanisms with Neighborhood and Pre-accession countries, as most tourism and climate related challenges have no boundaries and are so closely related in the Mediterranean basin. Thus, synergies should be sought with the works of institutions, public and private partnerships, European strategies and international initiatives, including the sustainability of the industry as a fundamental pillar, with a focus on SMEs. Then, the CPMR-IMC/IC suggests that the European Territorial Cooperation Programs (Interreg Med, ENI CBC, MED, etc.) seek a real bridge between the 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 programming periods, regarding the capitalization of projects results and their mainstreaming into EU, national, regional and local policies. Indeed, exploiting current available knowledge and data is key to aligning and adapting tourism sector practices towards more sustainability faster.