Need for change

9th Mediterranean Tourism Forum

The tourism sector has experienced spectacular growth over the last 70 years. Its drawbacks, if poorly managed, should not distract us from the great opportunities it offers if it is well managed. Because of its cross-cutting nature, it impacts other economic activities and accounts for 10% of GDP and 10% of employment. The Mediterranean is the world’s leading tourism area with nearly 400 million tourists: 32% of all international arrivals and 30% of global revenues. It accounts for 13% of exports, 23% of the services sector and employs more than 20 million people. The region has 20% of the world’s hotel accommodation capacity. It has 10.000 destinations, some 100.000 hotels and one million restaurants. However, despite these numbers, tourism remains heterogeneous and fragmented between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

To accelerate recovery, it is necessary to promote stimulus measures and provide financial
incentives for tourism investment and operation and preparation for the future: support job retention, rescue SMEs and boost start-ups in the sector and protect the most vulnerable groups; review taxes and charges affecting transport and tourism; ensure consumer protection and trust; boost events and congresses; promote new jobs and the acquisition of skills, especially digital skills; include tourism in national and regional economic emergency mechanisms to restore confidence and stimulate demand; create crisis management
echanisms and strategies. In conclusion, prioritise tourism in recovery programmes and development aid.

The 9th Mediterranean Tourism Forum is the must-attend event for those looking to develop tourism products after COVID-19, create a Mediterranean brand and bring growth o the sector in sustainableterms, especially when it comes to the Mediterranean islands.

Introduction

Tourism cannot be separated from the local, national or global context in which it operates and the proof lays on the severe impact COVID-19 has had on the sector.

Tourism is a locomotive for the economic recovery of the Mediterranean. If responsible,tourism stimulates inclusive growth, creates jobs and SMEs, attracts investment, preserves the environment and promotes culture.

Optimism is key, but change is needed. The pandemic crisis has forced us to rethink the economic model and find alternatives when it comes to marketing. We must reinvent and grow, work with the territories, review social tourism and care for heritage. Moreover, COVID-19 has made it very clear that personal health and wellbeing are crucial for tourism. It is therefore an opportunity to reboot the sector and offer a more sustainable model. Governments, the private sector and the international community must work together to overcome COVID-19 and this unprecedented social and economic crisis. However, the capacity for stimulus will vary considerably from country to country. Several factors will come into play, such as infrastructure, human resources, economic capacity and even olitical factors. There is an urgent need to mitigate the impact of the crisis, ensure tourism recovery and enable the sector to play a leading role in the overall recovery.

The very prospect of climate change poses a serious threat to development and sustainability. And there are many determining challenges for the future, particularly in terms of tourism management, climate and sustainability. There is an urgent need to enhance the offer in the Mediterranean, both for its cultural diversity and its historical
importance, with special emphasis on the great existing biodiversity

16th November 2022

11:30 – 13:00

Key words

Tourism eco-system, resilience, Mediterranean brand, sustainability, foodservice sector, hospitality sector, digital transformation

SESSION 1 – A NEED FOR CHANGE FOR LONG-TERM
SUSTAINABILITY

The tourism sector demonstrated how it was able to adapt to market changes and drive growth, despite persistent economic and geopolitical challenges. This Session will evaluate and analyse the situation of the tourism industry. As competition and customers have changed, it is time Mediterranean countries work together, to join forces in order to compete in a global world, to bet on sustainable development capable of creating new opportunities that will allow us to continue on the path of growth.

We need a regional tourism agency: an institution that counts on the participation of all actors, through public-private cooperation and joins forces with new innovative formulas. This would bring the Mediterranean countries from a competing model to a collaborating tourist offer.

The creation of a single brand for the entire Mediterranean is key to boosting joint promotion and marketing systems and tools to compete in the global market and expand the Mediterranean’s share of the tourism market in order to generate income, create jobs and reduce gaps. Other regions in the world are doing it, like the Caribbean and Africa. Because the Mediterranean region is the world’s leading tourism destination, the creation of this brand had not been a need until now but it is feasible and a must in such an unequal region.

The most obvious answer is to get out of this great crisis and enhance the value of tourism in the Mediterranean. But what is the strategy and what tools will economic actors and communities put in place? The exchange of practices and coordination between countries on both shores should be the priority.

Key  Points for discussion:

      • Driving Collaboration: An ideal Scenario?
      • What can be done to increase collaboration in the Mediterranean Tourism industry?
      • In terms of tourism management, climate and environment, strategy and sustainability, what challenges exist for the future of the tourism sector?
      • What impact does digital transformation and innovation have on traditional business and what can the hotel sector do to promote it?

SESSION 2 – THE ISLANDS, AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OF MEDITERRANEAN TOURISM

The islands of the Mediterranean have experienced great development in recent years, with the expansion of their tourism sector. Tourism integrates many positive elements, generates job opportunities, especially for young people and women, improves seasonal income, promotes the construction of infrastructures, develops technologies and services, and facilitates the cultural and social exchange that enriches the traveller and the destination. However, there is a big difference between
growth and a fair and consistent distribution of income, and today we know that “getting back to normal” is not the way to build a prosperous and sustainable future.

With COVID-19, the islands have suffered losses of billions of euros of activity, both direct and indirect. The world has gone through a painful, heavy and costly phase in its long confrontation with the virus, and the battle continues. That is why we are facing an opportunity to restart the sector and offer a new post COVID-19 tourism model.

Present and future challenges, for the Mediterranean in general and its islands in particular, are to become a sustainable tourist destination and impose a shared responsibility based on the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. The tourism of the future incorporates balanced and focused development objectives and requires a change of attitude in the entire value chain regarding destinations, companies and tourists.

Key Points for discussion:

      • How can we emerge strengthened from the pandemic and continue to be an engine of the economy?
      • How can governments and the private sector work together to overcome the impact of the pandemic and this unprecedented social and economic crisis and take advantage of the situation generated by the pandemic to rethink the model?
      • What is the strategy? What tools will economic actors and communities implement? What impact has there been on the islands so far and what impact can they have in the future?
      • Why could the islands emerge from a pandemic as the safest way to enjoy a vacation? How are they going to be supported so that they continue to be a motor of the regional economy and tourism?
Salvador Illa

Ministry of Health, Government of Spain (Special Guest Speaker)

Enric Mayolas

Consulting Director, World Health Management (Moderator)

Gonzalo Fanjul

Policy Director, Institut Salut Global

Chakib Abouzaid

Secretary General, General Arab Insurance Federation

European Regional Development Fund              A way to make Europe