Sustainable consumption and production Action Plan for the Mediterranean: SwitchMed presents new tool to promote sustainable tourism in marine protected areas

We presented for the first time the tourism chapter of the SCP Action Plan for the Mediterranean during the Annual Workshop of the MedPAN, the network of Marine Protected Area (MPA) managers in the Mediterranean. Over 60 marine and terrestrial protected areas were represented and along with Tour Operators and project leaders, they reflected on the practices and processes to promote sustainable tourism in protected areas. Close to 150 participants from 19 Mediterranean attended the event that took place on 25-26 November in Sardinia (Italy).

The 2-days workshop aimed at sharing experience on the development of sustainable tourism in protected areas and it mainly consisted in the organisation of small working groups to discuss specific themes highlighted by short case studies. A total of 32 working groups exchanged their views in sessions that revolved around the 4 main themes identified for the workshop: involvement of private operators and institutional players, public-private partnerships enhancement, carrying capacity and visitors management, tourism plan establishment and implementation. Several interesting debates focused for example on the adoption of the European charter of sustainable tourism, the early stages of ecotourism in Lebanon, the development of a Destination Management Organisation in Tunisia or carrying capacity on beaches, the establishment of “Park” brands, the ways to control recreational fishing or even the inclusion of literature as a way to attract new and “slow” tourists to Marine Protected Areas.

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