• Mission

Session on the implementation of the “Cross Network Alliance for Governance in Sustainable Tourism” held in Podgorica.


The event included the speech on “Implementation of the new approach for a sustainable Blue Economy – focus on regional cooperation for coastal and maritime tourism” by Ms. Eleni Hatziyanni, DG MARE-Unit A3 from the European Commission.

Dialogue4Tourism Project (Interreg Euro-MED Programme) celebrated the First Steering Committee Meeting in Podgorica last 3rd-4th October to discuss the first steps of the project for a transnational cooperation and management of governance in sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean organised and hosted by the partner National Tourism Organization of Montenegro (NTO Montenegro).

Dialogue4Tourism Project devoted these days to organize the work that this project is going to carry out related to increase the coordination level and institutional capacity of public authorities, multi-level bodies, programmes and strategies in sustainable tourism in the Euro-MED Region, aiming to transform sustainable tourism into greener, smarter and more resilient, embracing: circularity of tourism services, environmental neutrality, sustainable ecosystem services, and cultural and natural preservation of resources. The main benefits that the governance actors will gain from this transnational approach is to learn by its experiences, transferring, capitalising, liaising, advocacy to guarantee a better future for sustainable tourism. The project area will benefit from the increased coordination level and institutional capacity of public authorities. A variety of activities are planned based on this transnational cooperation among targeted actors and the alignment with EU & Mediterranean strategies: EU Green Deal, SDGs & the Territorial Agenda (Agenda 2030, for A Just & A Green Europe, UfM Greener MED Agenda etc). The conference in Podgorica was attended by partners from seven Mediterranean countries: Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Croatia.

Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism of Montenegro and the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro took part in the public part of the event. It was concluded, among other, that it is necessary to improve coordination and institutional capacities, as well as strategies and initiatives, with the aim of transforming tourism into greener, smarter and more resistant to the impact of global changes, in order to ensure sustainable growth in the future. At the panel discussion, the results of other cross-border cooperation projects were presented, such as the Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (NSTO) that was created in the frame of Best Med Project during the previous Programming Period of Interreg MED. The importance of the development of sustainable tourism observatories in Montenegro was also identified.

On this occasion, the representative of NTO Montenegro, Ana Đurnić, said that such gatherings are a unique opportunity for the exchange of ideas, experiences and examples of best practices in order to achieve a common goal, i.e. sustainable development of the destination.

Đurnić recalled that in recent years the global tourism industry has faced unprecedented challenges.

“Climate change, overdevelopment and uncontrolled tourism activities have threatened the very landscapes and communities that make the Mediterranean so enchanting.” It is no longer enough to simply enjoy this paradise; we must protect and nurture it for the generations to come”, explained Đurnić and added that Montenegro is no exception in this regard.

“In Montenegro, as well as in the wider Mediterranean region, we are called to reduce our environmental footprint, promote environmentally friendly transport and support local communities, which are the heart of this country.” In this way, we can preserve the unique charm of Montenegro, and at the same time provide lasting economic benefits to its inhabitants,” Đurnić concluded.

During the conference, the representative of the Administration for Statistics Montenegro – MONSTAT, Marina Šuković, focused on the sustainable development of tourism in the Mediterranean. She pointed out that cross-border cooperation projects are extremely important for synchronization of activities and the transfer of knowledge, which is the only way to achieve effective tourism governance in the Mediterranean.

Goranka Lazović, head of the Directorate for the Competitiveness of the Tourist Environment at the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism of Montenegro, said that tourism is one of the world’s largest “businesses”, and that because of this, the scope of its impact – social, economic, social, environmental – is also very large.

“A large part of this impact is very positive – it is reflected in the creation of jobs, the development of new opportunities and new experiences for visitors in our countries”, said Lazović and added that, nevertheless, it is undeniable that there are real and very significant negative impacts that we obliged, as decision-makers, business people, but also as citizens, to recognize and to do our best in order to, if not eliminate, at least reduce them to a minimum level. It is necessary that we are aware of the constant need to upgrade our abilities in terms of defining and implementing strategies and project tasks, aimed at adapting to constant challenges. At the same time, I especially emphasize the importance of regional cooperation, because only joint ventures ensure the prosperity of the region”, concluded Lazović.

“In today’s world, the principles of preserving the environment, society and management (ESG principles) are becoming increasingly important,” said Ivana Gajović, a member of the Committee for Tourism and Hospitality of the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro, in her introductory presentation, and explained that ESG principles include a set of standards that guide corporate policies to align with the concepts of sustainable development in the areas of environmental protection, social responsibility and corporate governance.

Gajović added that the challenges facing the tourism sector can only be overcome through strategic and joint efforts, including the private sector and state institutions, and active participation in regional initiatives of common interest.

The session was introduced by Interreg Euro-MED Program Project Officer, Axel Rodríguez Garrote, that was followed by the speech on “Implementation of the new approach for a sustainable Blue Economy – focus on regional cooperation for coastal and maritime tourism” by Eleni Hatziyanni, DG MARE-Unit A3, European Commission |Sea-basin Strategies, Maritime Regional Cooperation & Maritime Security.

The panel focused on the Cross Network Alliance for Governance in Sustainable Tourism (one of the main actions foreseen by the Project) moderated by Alexia Aspyridonidou (EPLO-Greece) joined the contributions of Frederic de Dinechin, Sr Policy Advisor, UfM Water Environment and Blue Economy Division of UfM (Union for the Mediterranean); Flora Leroy, Senior EU Programmes Officer, CPMR Intermediterranean Commission, partner of Community4Tourism Project; Jelena Šobat, Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, Head of
the Sector for Special Forms of Tourism and Analytics, Innovations and Sustainable Development; Marko Opančar, NCP, Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds of the Republic of Croatia – Directorate for European Territorial Cooperation; Marina Šuković, Statistician in the field of tourism, Statistical Office of Montenegro and Garo Kaprelyan and Mladen Ivanov, representatives of Municipality of Varna-Bulgaria.

Dialogue4Tourism Project is financially supported through the INTERREG Program of Technical Support to the Mediterranean Transnational Program 2021-2027 (Euro-MED) and will last seven years. In addition to NTO Montenegro and MONSTAT, which is an associated partner in this project, the partners are the Andalusian Public Foundation El legado andalusí (Regional Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport of Andalucía, Spain) lead partner of the project, the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur Region (France), the Institute for Agriculture and Tourism – IPTPO (Croatia) , Municipality of Varna (Bulgaria), European Public Law Organization-EPLO (Greece), Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works (Cyprus), Lazio Region (Italy) and 25 Associated Partners from the Euro-MED Region.