The WINTER MED partnership organised its 1st Engagement Forum back-to-back the CPMR–Intermediterranean Commission (CPMR-IMC) Task Force on Culture and Sustainable Tourism, held online on 16th July 2021. This meeting, organised with the support of the Sustainable Tourism Community, brought together Mediterranean region representatives and served to present efficient existing tools and methodologies meeting their needs identified in a questionnaire previously shared by the CPMR regarding the sustainable revival of the tourism sector. It was an excellent opportunity to present the work carried out within the WINTER MED project in front of a wide audience with the aim of involving potentially interested regions in the capitalisation process.
Now entering its capitalisation phase, the project will hold other meetings in the framework of the Engagement Forum which will allow partners to share the WINTER MED experience at a trans-regional level. A Protocol Agreement designed to involve territories beyond the partnership in the WINTER MED results and methodology could be signed by these new territories. Through the Protocol, the signatories will agree on sharing of knowledge and policy practice and endorse the project's strategic documents. This will assure the uptake of the WINTER MED strategy in relevant policies beyond partners regions. The additional meetings are thus expected to be an effective means to explore other regions’ involvement and commitment to the project’s results, spreading them beyond the partnership itself. During the first Engagement Forum some of the WINTER MED partners took the floor to present the project’s methodology to build a transnational strategy for sustainable and responsible all-year-round tourism and to showcase their experience within the consortium.
After a general overview of the project, Eudokia Balamou - representing our project partner Larnaca & Famagusta Districts Development Agency – ANETEL -, explained Cyprus’ experience as part of the project, mainly introducing the methodology followed to build a Regional Action Plan for the island. Three key steps were highlighted: the identification of challenges, the identification of existing action axes and the need to involve all relevant stakeholders in the tourism sector to implement an effective strategy for all-year-round tourism. Afterwards, Jean Dominique Cesari – representing our partner Corsica Tourism Agency (France) – and Lorena Vidas – representing the project Lead Partner, ANCI Toscana (Italy) - took the floor to complete this first intervention and to provide further details on the Corsican and the Tuscan experience, respectively.
The presentations were followed by a more interactive session held to assess the replicability potential of the WINTER MED’s results with the participants. The attending regions showed great interest in WINTER MED’s methodology and will be put in contact with the project partners through the CPMR in order to go further into detail through bilateral exchanges. The session also served to identify the main challenges for replication, most of the regions arguing that the lack of human resources and skills together with the lack of funding appear to be the main barriers. Accordingly, capacity building was selected as the most needed kind of support to implement the methodology presented. In this regard, the meeting was very enlightening and will undoubtedly serve to better guide the future steps of the project.
To close the event, Flora Leroy – representing the Intermediterranean Commission of the CPMR-, host of the virtual event and partner of the project in charge of the capitalisation and communication activities implementation – expressed her willingness to regularly update the regions on the progress of the project, especially during its capitalisation phase. In particular, the partnership committed to share WINTER MED’s Policy Paper with the CPMR member regions and to disseminate among them the final transnational strategy for sustainable and responsible all-year-round tourism.