Nowadays, and according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), ecotourism is a growing sector, with a huge demand from consumers of sustainable activities in natural areas: activities which help to conserve the environment as well as to improve the well-being of local communities. The Mediterranean region, perceived as one of the most interesting areas in the world, has a great potential for ecotourism thanks to its different and varied ecosystems, cultures and landscapes, which configure a rich mosaic with appropriate features for this type of tourism.
As stated in its website, “the Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism (MEET) project aims to improve the sustainability and the rationalization in the distribution of the tourism sector in the Mediterranean region. This is done in the framework of cross-border cooperation within the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument (ENPI Med), under the strategic line ‘Promoting sustainable tourism for the socio-economic development and enhancement of territories’.
The MEET Project’s main goal is to develop an ecotourism model for Mediterranean Protected Areas (PAs) based on the “European Charter for Sustainable Tourism” to promote a better seasonal distribution of tourism flows.
MedWet countries in the MEET Project: focus on wetlands
Some examples of Best Practices (BP) have been developed in natural areas covered by wetlands. The vast majority of these initiatives and projects are located in the Mediterranean Basin, in different MedWet countries, such as France, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.
The following projects developed in wetland areas illustrate the MEET spirit and, they are cases of studies all over the world since they are examples of BP.
- Kayak and snorkel activities to discover Natural Parks (Spain): This BP involves four different natural parks in Catalonia, Cap de Creus Natural Park, Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park, Delta de l’Ebre Natural Park and Montgrí, les Illes Medes i el Baix Ter Natural Park.
- LAGOON – Preserving the Marine Environment of Oludeniz Lagoon (Turkey): To avoid the deterioration of the marine environment, the NGO Turkish Marine Research Foundation has set up, under a LIFE Project, environmental awareness building activities among local fishermen, tourism operators and other important stakeholders.
- ECOSAL Atlantis – Ecotourism in the Atlantic salt-marshes (France, Portugal and Spain): It consists of the creation of a route that integrates and enhances the value of Atlantic salt producing sites. For more information click here.
- Guides of National Parks and Recreation Areas (Greece): The Ecoguides inform visitors about flora, fauna and geomorphology, the problems and the threats to the habitats, and promote thematic visits.
If you want to know more about the Mediterranean Experience of Eco-Tourism, visit its webpage here.
Watch the videos here.
Source: Mediterranean Experience of Eco-Tourism
Federazione Italiana Parchi e Riserve Naturali
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