Tourism is at the same time a growing source of income and an increasing driving force for actual negative impacts in the Mediterranean coastal regions. Protected Areas are the best example of it: they look at the tourists as additional “financial resources” for their weak institutional budget, but at the same time they fear the impact of large groups of tourists, concentrated in peak season.
Twenty protected areas in ten countries bordering the Mediterranean will be the case studies of a European project led by Federparchi which aims to create a Mediterranean model of participatory planning for tourism respectful of nature. The main objective is to develop an integrated strategy (which foresees coordinated actions) in order to settle an Eco-Tourism Development model for the Mediterranean area that boosts a better seasonal distribution of tourism flows.
The guidelines for the project have been explained at a press conference held in Rome on Monday 11 March 2013. The project was presented by Luca Santarossa, project manager, and the ENPI Managing Director, Dr Anna Catte, followed by the speeches of the heads of all institutions partners. This project was officially launched on January 17 and will be run until 16 October 2015.
The IUCN-Med as a partner in the consortium will be in charge of the coordination of the Mediterranean Ecotourism Planning Scheme Secretariat (MEPS) in collaboration with the IUCN ROWA office in Amman (as an Antenna of the secretariat in Middle East regions). The MEPS Secretariat’s purpose is to guarantee the capitalization of the results (mainly through MEPS Network), and the sustainability of the project after its end through the promotion and trading of MEPS Eco-tourism package Catalogue towards International Tour Operators.
The project is called "Mediterranean Experience of Eco-Tourism" (Meet) and is financed primarily by the ENPI CBC MED (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument for Cross Border Cooperation, Mediterranean sea), an EU grant program targeted at countries bordering the Mediterranean. Federparchi will coordinate the 5 million euro of EU funding along with the eight partner institutions, including the Lazio Region, the French Federation of National Parks, Medpan (network of protected areas in the Mediterranean), the region of Catalonia, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, the Egyptian Ministry of the Environment, Royal Society for the Conservation of nature and the managing body National Park Al-Shouf Cedar in Lebanon.
For further info: Carla Danelutti.