WINTER MED into the Third Sustainable Tourism Community Building Workshop: highlighting its contribution to an enhanced coastal destination resilience

The Interreg MED Sustainable Tourism Community (STC) gathered online on the 10th of March to exchange on the recent activities of the community projects and their respective contribution to key specific thematic objectives to the programme. The WINTER MED project contributed to the discussion and learned about the STC ongoing initiatives, such as the update of the Catalogue of Outputs and the organisation of the II MED Sustainable Tourism Convention to take place in Barcelona on 7-9 June.

The 3rd and last Sustainable Tourism Community Building Workshop brought together ongoing and past community projects to inform the partnerships about the last initiatives of the STC, to discuss and identify how the projects contribute to specific thematic objectives, and to facilitate the co-organisation of the II MED Sustainable Tourism Convention to take place in Barcelona in June 2022.

The STC is currently working on a Catalogue 2.0 of project outputs. Outputs from the different projects are currently being collected to prepare a new version of the catalogue that is to be available by June 2022, after its presentation during the MED Sustainable Tourism Convention. The STC is also about to launch a Handbook on the use of Next Generation Recovery Funds and ERDF Funds 2021-2027. In this respect, the STC has also started working on a recommendation paper on the next Generation Recovery Funds and ERDF Funds 2021-2027. The definitive version should be available by June 2022. Last but not least, among its multiple activities, the STC will organise the II Sustainable Tourism Convention in Barcelona on 7-9 June.

In a second part, participants were divided into four working groups, matching four different thematic objectives (Enhancing resilience of the tourism sector in coastal destinations; Strengthening resource efficiency and environmental conservation measures; Increasing innovation and use of new technologies in tourism planning and decision making; Improving cooperation and governance at different levels).

The WINTER MED project was presented during the 1st working group dedicated to the resilience of tourism in coastal destinations. Indeed, the project actively contribute to this objective by addressing one of the major challenges for sustainable maritime and coastal tourism in the MED: the high seasonality of the sector. To tackle this issue, the project proposes a joint integrated transnational strategy for the development of all-year-round sustainable in MED islands, based on a close collaboration among the partnerships.

The WINTER MED strategy was then presented to the participants, as the main outputs of the project aiming to ensure that MED island destinations would be prepared to face future challenges of the sector, to undertake a safe exploitation (protection & preservation) and be resilient to future threats.

This workshop was also the opportunity to present the key messages from the WINTER MED policy paper which advocates for a joint commitment of tourism stakeholders towards an extension of the tourism season in Mediterranean islands.

The workshop was an excellent opportunity for WINTER MED, not only for the dissemination of its policy recommendations -currently being disseminated at local, national, regional and EU level through the advocacy campaign- but also to identify common ground and shared priorities with other projects at a key moment as the community prepares for the new programming period.