Silva Mediterranea

Over 90 years of Mediterranean forest management

Launch of INHERIT project on Sustainable Tourism in the Mediterranean area

International Association for Mediterranean Forests (AIFM) and its 14 partners are pleased to announce the official launch of the INTERREG MED - INHERIT project.

Tourism in the Med regions has been growing at an accelerated rate in the last decades. The impact of mass tourism activities, seasonality and overcapacity are putting the Mediterranean coastal and maritime natural heritage under severe pressure. Excessive construction, waste generation, resource depletion, desertification & erosion, and biodiversity loss are the most striking consequences. To ensure the future of the MED environmental habitat as well as the sustainable tourism growth potential Mediterranean territories need to react by developing models of sustainable tourism that preserve the natural heritage. Combining the protection of natural heritage with sustainable tourism is the only option for the tourism industry to further grow and to face the competition of other countries.

In this context, the “Sustainable Tourism Strategies to Conserve and Valorize the Mediterranean Coastal and Maritime Natural Heritage - INHERIT” project, involving 15 partners from 10 Mediterranean countries, including AIFM, has officially been launched in April 2018. The project, financed by the INTERREG MED European Program, aims to enhance the development of policies and coordination of strategies between territories about advancing a sustainable and responsible coastal and maritime tourism in the Mediterranean area. Its purpose is to alleviate the pressures exerted by tourism economic activities on Mediterranean coastal natural heritage areas by improving the level of protection through a combination of self-regulation, Mediterranean-specific proven policy measures and transnational cooperation mechanisms. This approach will be positive both for natural habitats and for tourism, as it will:

  • protect and enhance the quality of the natural heritage, thereby augmenting attractiveness for tourists
  • leverage visibility, thereby enhancing the value of tourism offering
  • sustain natural heritage, thereby increasing the long-term value of tourism.

Therefore, the INHERIT project will identify protection measures adapted to Mediterranean specificities to protect the natural heritage against the negative effects of mass tourism. These key measures will be tested and deployed across partner territories. The project will identify natural heritage sites that are threatened by negative effect of tourism development, called INHERITURA pilot sites, where those bottom-up protection measures will be applied to alleviate the effects of seasonality and locality peaks.

Innovation will play a central role in the project, through the conception of INHERITURA areas using the improved protection as an asset to increase tourism attractiveness in a sustainable manner, the creation of thematic multi-destination touristic routes proposed between the different INHERITURA sites to highlight lesser-known areas of interest and divert attention from overloaded touristic attraction sites, and finally through the adaptation of existing practices via their alignment with integrated management of coastal areas & marine spatial planning (ICZM-MSP), the development of self-regulation measures and harmonization of tourism and natural heritage policies.

Dissemination of knowledge and key findings, capitalization and capacity-building will also be key to foster the redefinition of sustainable Mediterranean tourism and natural heritage protection. As a result, public representatives, tourism industry stakeholders and civil society will be invited to cooperate so as to strengthen ownership.

As a result, INHERIT can be a future point of reference for projects and initiatives that advance green growth in the Mediterranean.

last updated:  Tuesday, September 25, 2018