#SEA4FUTURE: Joint Conference of Pillar 3 and Pillar 4 “Evaluation and Preservation of Environment for Tourism”
The first joint international conference of pillars Environmental Quality (TSG 3) and Sustainable Tourism (TSG 4) of the Adriatic-Ionian region (AIR) was held on 26th and 27th September 2019.
The conference took place as part of the International Mediterranean Coast Week and macro-regional strategies 2019 event with the slogan SEA4FUTURE. It was not only the first joint event of two EUSAIR Pillars, but also the first time two INTERREG transnational programmes, ADRION and Mediterranean, joined forces. The conference addressed sustainable tourism issues, taking into account local ecosystems, nature and cultural heritage. The event was attended by participants from 8 different European countries.
First day of the conference was held in Poreč, Croatia, with the aim to present global, regional, national and local attitudes, policies and activities tackling sustainable and responsible tourism development, which considers environment, climate, people and heritage on the whole as important elements of tourism. The first day of the conference provided food for thoughts for all levels of governments and governance in the AIR. The overall conclusion was that are mainly people those who are causing problems so it is up to people to find out smart solutions to overcome them. Most of the problems are actually very similar or the same in all the regions so it would only be prudent try to find the solutions that could work in our destinations.
On the second day, that was set in Izola, Slovenia, several good practices were presented to preserve the environment and natural heritage, both locally and internationally. Also it was presented the TSG 3 and 4 cross-pillar project: Managing tourism flows in protected areas. This topic is also common to Mediterranean program projects like INHERIT (INTERREG MEDITERRANEAN) which aim is to valorise and conserve the Mediterranean coastal and maritime natural heritage by promoting sustainable tourism strategies. The identification of new values and the quality of destinations will form an important foundation for the development of sustainable, higher quality tourism products and at the same time provide basics for conservation of natural resources. It is important to encourage the development of new innovative tourism products and also include new ways, like digitalisation, for presenting the heritage and potential of advanced technologies to boost positive tourism impacts and manage tourism flows in marine protected areas to conserve the sensitive ecosystems in AIR.