The Southern Europe and Mediterranean programmes did not think it twice about keeping their annual date with the Med Lab Group event which this time was held in Palermo (Italy) on May 13, 2019.


The meeting focused on the topic of coastal tourism, dealt under the perspective of innovation and environment, with the main objective of bringing together innovative expriences to tackle its threats and opportunities as an attractive economic sector.

Throughout the session, the main tourism actors together with public authorities, Member States representatives and EU Commission had the opportunity to discuss on different sources of funding and common approaches towards a more effective and efficient coastal tourism. Furthermore, external and internal EU cooperation programmes and projects could capitalise on their results, exchanging know-how and looking for potential ways of cooperation in this field.

During the morning, the round table on 'Opportunities of a sustainable tourism model' was moderated by the representative of the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, Leader of the PANORAMED WP5 on Coastal and Maritime Tourism, who made a brief presentation of the project based on both its institutional video and the Gaps and Growth Opportunities Report drafted by the thematic experts. The moderator and the attendees debated and shared their experiences on how to improve and preserve the attractiveness of the natural and cultural heritage as well as on Blue Growth. This discussion led to a series of concluding remarks which emphasise the importance of:

  1. The development of sustainable tourism through the creation of innovative tools, technologies and offers as factors of socio-economic growth to enhance attractiveness and help spread the tourist presence in space and time.
  2. Collaboration between policy makers and public authorities on the one side, and local stakeholders and SMEs on the other side.
  3. Creation of networks for sharing knowledge and experiences for the improvement of tourism management.
  4. Identification of new models for cultural and natural heritage exploitation with a low environmental impact on the territory and high degree of deseasonalisation (e.g. cycling and hiking tourism, underwater archaelogy).

In addition, PANORAMED members also participated actively in another round table entitled 'What are the options of the future of Coastal Tourism in the Mediterranean' where speakers and audience suggested the following actions to carry out jointly:

  1. Take third countries on board and progressively foster their participation in programmes and projects in order to achieve a real impact in the Mediterranean coasts.
  2. Guarantee continuity of the work initiated through a more integrated perspective.
  3. Establish common objectives and an effective collaboration strategy to enhance the long-term sustainability of the sector through smart tourism services.