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Building the Sustainable Tourism Mission


The first Joint Annual Forum of the Mission took place back to back with the event “Connecting the dots: the path to a Smarter and Greener Mediterranean“, organised by the Interreg Euro-Med Programme that was held in Ljubljana on 21 and 22 November 2023.

The first Joint Annual Forum was considered as a moment to present the Mission, its objectives, and its activities to the tourism stakeholders present, and to start thinking about synergies with other initiatives and programmes. Among others, it was the occasion to discuss the contributions of external stakeholders such as Associated Partners and to resolve doubts.

The event was seen as a great opportunity for the Community4Tourism project to introduce their thematic groups and clusters, and for the Dialogue4Tourism project to introduce their Driving Tourism Transition panel and the Cross Network Alliance. Both projects aimed to highlight the interaction between these different exchange spaces, where many common actors were expected to contribute with different roles. This forum was also an opportunity to involve tourism stakeholders participating in the event in the reflection phase of these spaces, which will be implemented and fed throughout the 81 months of the Mission.

The main objectives of this event were: To present the ST Mission as one voice spreading the philosophy of the Interreg Euro-MED Programme focusing on fostering a circular tourism considering the sustainability of ecosystem services using innovative technologies and promoting the preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage; to communicate that these two governance projects are working jointly within this Mission to develop solutions and promote cooperation in the Euro-MED and beyond; to give visibility to the main contents of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)among the two projects; To have a first glimpse of what are the needs and expectations of key stakeholders, Associated Partners, partners and givers and takers in relation to the ST Mission; to review and communicate what this Mission has to offer to the European and Mediterranean stakeholders of both shores; to analyze added value for possible collaboration (i.e., in knowledge production, quadruple helix stakeholders’ engagement, organization of joint initiatives and events, etc.) and to discuss ways of both projects of the Mission (especially Dialogue4Tourism Project) to effectively convey the voice of Mediterranean stakeholders from the ground to advocate and impact on European and Mediterranean policy making.

Among the main objectives of the signing of the MoU we can remark: the amplification and increase of the Thematic Projects results’ impact and the transferring of these results into practices, as well as their mainstreaming into public policies, benefiting all Interreg Euro-Med countries and other countries (i.e. South Med). Through the MoU, it was highlighted that among the projects is required, in order to reach these objectives, assure the smooth implementation of the activities, maximize their impact and fulfill the goals of the Programme.

The first session was introductory, giving the general context through the intervention of the Joint Secretariat, as well as the context of the tourism mission through an overview of the previous period and the coordination of the two governance projects of the tourism mission to work together towards a more sustainable governance of tourism in the Mediterranean. The second part was devoted to highlight the main activities to be launched during the first 2 years of the Mission. After explaining the aims of the mission, outlining its main activities for the next two years in particular, and describing the role that participants in the first JAF could play, the idea was to give the participants the opportunity to express their views. This included discussing their general understanding of the Mission, their interest in the activities, or even any suggestions for the Tourism Mission to consider. The final part and concluding remarks were aimed to further elaborate on the answers shared during the interactive session and to begin to discuss potential future synergies.The event counted on an active participation of Associated Partners and stakeholders attending.

The event brought together around 50 participants, among which all the partnerships of the two governance projects of the Tourism Mission, comprising a variety of stakeholders, as well as the programme itself and representatives of other programmes, such as Interreg NEXT MED, and key organisations such as PAP/RAC, BLINK, OTIE and Local Chambers of Commerce (Ljubljana).  According to the slido shared in the interactive session, around 23% of the participants were Government or policy makers, 20 % were Academic researcher or educator, other 20% were NGOs/interest group organisation representatives, 11% were Destination Management Organisation and 3% were Entrepreneur or business owner and the rest would describe themselves as belonging to other categories.



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