LIVE YOUR TOUR, an ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme

The multilateral cross-border cooperation "Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme" is part of the new European Neighbourhood Policy and of its financing instrument (ENPI), and its general objective is contributing to promote the sustainable and harmonious cooperation process at the Mediterranean Basin level by dealing with the common challenges and enhancing its endogenous potential. It finances cooperation projects for the socio-economic development and enhancement of territories, cultural dialogue and local governance, with the final objective of strengthening and harmonising synergies and cross-border cooperation among the EU Mediterranean countries.

Genral presentation of the project and its aims

The goal of the project is to increase the Sustainable Tourism in some areas of Italy, Spain, Lebanon and Tunisia, favouring off seasonal flows, the development of that areas and the enhancement of their cultures, and reducing the non-sustainable pressures of tourism on coastal areas, in order to mitigate the impact on the environment. Through the identification of possible alternative routes, compared to the more well-known and exploited for tourist purposes, the project aims to develop a different relationship visitor / territory that can permit to the tourist to appreciate the characteristics of several places. The intensive cooperation among the different areas involved in the project, working as a network, will offer different itineraries as pieces of a whole that, despite its differences, are recognized as part of a Mediterranean reality.

The project specifically aims also to increase the capacity and know-how of local authorities in terms of cross-border strategic planning on Sustainable Tourism through training and ongoing support services: a dense exchanges of ideas and experiences through a cross-border network of Mediterranean countries. The actions also involve large segments of the civil society through summer camps for young people, design of games, awareness courses in schools.

Description of the project

The project will improve the situation of the target groups at different and several levels. Concerning the Local Authorities, the project will improve their capability and know how about strategic planning in the field of sustainable tourism. They will be provided with technical expertises through training courses, permanent assistance and exchange of experiences through the establishment of a strong Mediterranean cross-border network. Lebanese and Tunisian LAs will take advantages from the experiences and good territorial planning practices carried out in Apulia and Andalusia in the tourism field; in particular, they will improve their capacity to collaborate with the private sector. Italian and Spanish LAs will develop innovative strategies to increase the territorial cohesion, to safeguard the value of local resources and to draw a cross-border and integrated development plan for sustainable tourism. In particular, Apulia, the regional planning tool SAC (Environment and Cultural System) will be enhanced.

The cross-border dimension (particularly the international exchanges) will allow the LA representatives to join international networks and make their territories experiment different best practices. The Civil Society Organizations (NGOs, cultural, eco-tourism and professional associations, development agencies) will be fully recognized as crucial stakeholders in the strategic planning and promotion of their territory; they will become more active about the preservation and enhancement of cultural and natural heritage at local, national and cross-border level. Furthermore, they will improve their capability to manage participative methodologies in order to address and involve their citizens, with special attention on marginal groups, guaranteeing a community based development.

Young people will increase their awareness about the importance to preserve natural and cultural heritage. The students (together with their teachers) and the young people of the involved CSOs will embark in a three year long educational path that will influence their knowledge and behaviours, allowing them to feel part of one Mediterranean community, especially through the international camps.

The increase of sustainable touristic flows will directly improve the situation of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of the tourism sector, as responsible tourism has a direct impact on local economies. Tour operators, accommodation facilities, artisans, agro-food companies, transport companies, cultural and entertaining facilities, local industries and many other private actors will become part of a virtuous tourism system, thanks to the increased accessibility to the target areas and thanks to the enhanced product diversification.

By redistributing tourism pressure over an extended season and toward different market segments drawn from local cultural and natural diversity, the project will allow niche enterprises to increase their market opportunities and the whole sector extending their working period. Moreover, the access will be fostered to marginal areas, generally left aside from mass tourism incomes. The local SMEs will also gain innovative marketing tools to increase their competitiveness on national, Mediterranean and international market. Tour operators and transport companies, in particular, will be offered an alternative way to face the economic crisis that is affecting the traditional mass tourism. Nevertheless, Live your tour is a project addressed to tourists. They will experiment an authentic way to travel through an emotional, social, and participative interaction with the places, their living cultures and the people who live there. They will benefit from the improved touristic facilities and their better accessibility; they will discover and visit uncommon and not overcrowded places, especially in inland areas and all-year-around. The citizens of all Mediterranean Basin will enjoy a more protected heritage, and will more deeply feel they belong to the one Mediterranean community. In all target areas, sustainable touristic flows due to a better seasonal and geographic spread of tourism arrivals will bring more balanced economy revenues. Marginalized people of inland areas will have the opportunity to join the local tourism supply chain, welcome tourists and increase their economic revenues. Furthermore, they will take advantages from the cultural exchanges coming from the contacts with tourists.

National and international decision makers of the whole Mediterranean Basin will have different best practices to refer to and will be able to take part in the cross-border networks created within the project. Tourism supply chains in Italy, Spain, Tunisia and Lebanon will revitalize their incomes, entering a virtuous circle of a more sustainable tourism. Concerning the partners, they will be provided with advanced management tools and methodologies, particularly referring to Project Cycle Management, financial and technical monitoring procedures, participatory and facilitation methodologies. Particular attention will be paid to the capacity building of Southern partners: the project will improve and strengthen their management, financial and technical capacity, through specific training courses and a permanent assistance.