“The Mediterranean and Coastal Tourism – Current Scenarios and Shaping Future Tourism”

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has triggered an unprecedented crisis in the tourism economy, given the immediate and immense shock to the sector. Revised international estimates on the COVID-19 impact point to 75/80% decline in international tourism in 2020. This could rise to 85/90% if recovery is delayed until Spring 2021 or longer, if hindered by the uncertain length of the pandemic (including resurgence) and vaccine. This puts as many as 120 million jobs globally at risk if international tourism within specific geographic-regions (e.g. in the Mediterranean) does not rebound.

Domestic tourism, which accounts for around 75% of the tourism economy in many OECD countries, was prematurely expected to recover more quickly. It offered the main chance for driving recovery, particularly in Mediterranean countries and islands, regions and cities where the sector supports most jobs and businesses. Coastal tourism figures have shown that this was not the case.

The impact of the crisis is being felt throughout the entire tourism ecosystem, and reopening and rebuilding destinations will require a joined up approach. Tourism businesses and workers must benefit from economy-wide stimulus packages, with many governments also introducing tourism specific measures. Coastal communities were hardest hit, with an estimated 7 billion EURO fall in GDP across Small Island Developing States due to the decline in tourism. The links between ocean-based sectors and land-based economies mean that these impacts have and will continue to have economic and social repercussions across the entire economy.

Furthermore, the travel and tourism industry and governments should continue to reinforce their coordination mechanisms to accompany the businesses, notably the smallest ones, and the workers. Particular attention should be given also to the most sensitive and vulnerable destinations in the recovery phase when and if this arrives. It is needed to consider the longer term implications of the crisis, while staying ahead of the digital curve, supporting the low carbon transition, and promoting the structural transformation needed to build a stronger, more sustainable and resilient tourism economy. One key factor that stands out in the Mediterranean, is the need for extensive education throughout the tourism industry regarding the coastal zones and their conservation values.

The crisis may be an opportunity to rethink tourism for the future, with an eye on the UN SDGs and the unknown form of tourism in the New Normal.

19th November 2020

17.30 - 19.00

The Mediterranean and Coastal Tourism

SESSION – Current Scenarios and Imagined Forecasts in the Blue Economy

A. Current Scenarios and Imagined Forecasts in the Blue Economy

  • COVID-19 impact in international tourism.
  • Domestic tourism recovery in Mediterranean countries and islands.
  • Recovery measures to support jobs and businesses.

B. Necessary efforts from Governments and industry Digitalisation

  • Working with businesses to access liquidity supports, apply new health protocols for safe travel, and help to diversify their markets.
  • Restoring traveller confidence and stimulating demand with new safe and clean labels for the sector, information apps for visitors and domestic tourism promotion campaigns.
  • Preparing comprehensive tourism recovery plans, to rebuild destinations, encourage innovation and investment, and rethink the tourism sector in an eco-safe mode for travellers and habitats.


Annika Patregnani

Habitat World President, Executive Director Biennale Habitat

Giovanni Enzo Di Rito

Mayor of ROCCA SAN GIOVANNI Municipality (Abruzzo)

Marco Marsilio

President of the Region of Abruzzo, Italy


Sarah D. Carr

Ph.D OCTO GROUP USA, Coordinator at Coastal-Marine Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network & Editor, The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management


Massimo Castellano

Habitat World Communication Team

Paolo Giraud

Habitat World Communication Team


Isidro Gonzalez

Deputy Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Water,Environment & Blue Economy Division

Eleni Hatziyanni

Directorate-General for Sea-basin Strategies, Maritime Regional Cooperation & Maritime Security, European Commission

Vasileios Zissimopoulos

Founder, COSTA NOSTRUM project

Patrizia Lupi

Director in chief of Enjoy Elba & the Tuscan Archipelago Magazine, CEO of Comunicazione srl

Armando Montanari

Professor and President at the Sapienza University of Rome, School of Tourism, and Vice-President of the innovative startup Envimob Srl

Josep F. Valls Giménez

Professor of the Department of Marketing Management, ESADE Business School

Mohamed Mastouri

Teaching Tourism in IHET (Higher Institute of Tourism, Tunis), Expert of Réseau MEGARA des Villes Durables

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