Joint webinar in the framework of cooperation among CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project and MED Sustainable Tourism & Urban Transports Communities


This webinar brought together three big European projects dealing with the development of smart and sustainable measures in tourist destinations: two Interreg MED communities of projects on Sustainable Tourism and Urban Transports and CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project, funded by Horizon 2020. Those projects were introduced by Mr. Josep Rodríguez, Barcelona Provincial Council, on behalf of MED Sustainable Tourism Community; Mr. Oriol Barba, Medcities, on behalf of MED Urban Transports Community; and Mr. Panos Coroyannakis, CRPM, on behalf of CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project. Moderation was conducted by Ms. Sandra de Puig, NECSTouR.

The goal of this webinar was to share good practices on the integration of sustainable and smart mobility in tourism policy/products and to showcase some concrete examples and practical guidelines developed by those projects with a special focus on Mediterranean destinations.

_ The full video is available on the Urban Transports Community’s YouTube channel

_ The audio podcast is available on the Sustainable Tourism Community's Castbox channel


The key issues come out from the discussion can be summarized in the following points:

·       The COVID-19 crisis has to be seen as an opportunity for certain tourism practices (cycling, walking, …), which are perceived as safer than other means of transport.

·       Tourism and mobility are not separated sectors and their interrelation is essential for the sustainability of destinations.

·       It is important to highlight the value of transportation as part of the tourist experience.

·       A holistic approach based on cooperation is a key aspect for the development of mobility and tourism of destinations (public-private, tourists-residents).

·       Planning is crucial, but also constant monitoring and the use of data.

·       Involvement of residents from the beginning is essential for the development of any process. ·       Sharing bad practices is as good and useful as sharing good practices.

·       Handbooks are valuable tools.



10 practical guidelines on tourism and mobility (Ms. Maria Stylianou Michaelidou, Limassol Tourism Board)

The strong interrelation and cooperation between tourism and mobility is a key point that all the cities, and of course all the tourist destinations, should take into account. This set of 10 recommendations aims at improving tourism governance and reducing CO2 emissions through a smart and sustainable mobility, targeting transport and tourism authorities and stakeholders:

1.     Cooperate: Bring the tourism and mobility sectors to work closely together.

2.     Enrich the tourism product: Promote mobility solutions as a benefit for enhancing the tourism product.

3.     Generate experience: Design tourist experiences combining sustainable mobility modes, i.e. cycling/pilgrimage, walking/architecture.

4.     Create an information hub: Provide (web) electronic and print information about sustainable mobility options (before and during the journey)

5.     Upgrade rural public transport services: Encourage public transport operators to improve and promote their rural services to the tourist market: upgrade the experience and provide optional journeys.

6.     Involve tourism stakeholders: Train hotel front office staff and other hospitality professionals to provide primarily sustainable travel solutions to their guests.

7.     Combine transport modes: Create synergies between sustainable mobility modes, i.e. on PT card offer discount for bike sharing, on bike sharing card offer discount for electric car rental.

8.     Gather, share and use data: Collect and share data between tourism and transport operators.

9.     Develop sustainable mobility inclusive strategic planning: Include the upgrading of sustainable mobility modes and infrastructures in the destination strategic planning.

10.  Recognise good practices: Reward tourism businesses for promoting green solutions, including sustainable mobility solutions.

Presentation of Smart and Sustainable Mobility Measures in Tourism developed in CIVITAS DESTINATIONS (Mr. Panos Coroyannakis, Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions)

The key idea of the project is that a city/region with good mobility for tourists is a city/region with good mobility for residents. That is why the 79 innovative mobility solutions developed by the project in 6 European islands (Funchal, Portugal; Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain; Valletta, Malta; Elba, Italy; Rethymno, Greece; Limassol, Cyprus) are conceived for both tourists and residents. Some best practice examples:

·       Elba Sharing Mobility Agency: Center for planning, managing and coordinating ride sharing services, user information and service networking.

·       Elba Mobility and Accommodation Package: Distribution of 40 e-bikes to 10 hotels in Rio and Portoferraio: agreement between the Hotel Association and the PT operator for PT promotion and discounts to tourist.

·       Limassol and Malta – Green Label/Green Hotel Awards: Distinction to hotels that promote sustainable mobility and, in Limassol, the Tourist Mobility Card for hotel guests.

·       Madeira - Improvements in PT fleet: HF unlocked ERDF funds and purchased 5 mini e-buses and 1 bus for persons with reduced mobility; implemented eco-driving program, driver language education programme; tested roof solar panels in 2 buses.

·       Las Palmas GC - PT promotion: Bus stop information panels; 3 new hybrid buses; 1 new electric bus; 1-3 days touristic cards, sold in hotels.

The project has also developed a Platform of Followers, with the purpose of presenting the project’s achievements and enticing followers to replicate the project’s best practices. A funding programme (DESTINATIONS Replication Program) has been foreseen as well to carry out this tasks.

Some lessons learnt:

·       Promote all sustainable modes of transport for tourism not only as a connection, but also as part of the touristic experience.

·       Involve citizens and all stakeholders.

·       Involve politicians early on.

·       Develop new technologies/information systems.

·       Plan continuously.



INTERREG MED: SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AND URBAN TRANSPORTS - Transferring results of projects on Tourism and Mobility in the Mediterranean

Tools for the development of cycling tourism in the Mediterranean: Eurovelo 8. (Ms. Florence Grégoire, European Cyclist Federation)

MEDCYCLETOUR project is based on EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route and aims to develop cycle tourism in the Mediterranean region by providing transnational tools to attract visitors. It contributes to the development of the Mediterranean Route by exchanging good practices; surveying the existing cycle route; developing regional and transnational action plans; preparing and publishing promotional material; and implementing pilot projects such as: signposting, monitoring systems to calculate the use and economic impact of the route, promotional tools (web sites, apps, etc.), cycle-friendly schemes, etc.

The main purpose of the project is to influence regional and national policies in favour of sustainable and responsible tourism, providing transnational solutions in coastal areas across the Mediterranean. To ensure the sustainability of the project results in the long term, the project has foreseen the Long Term Management Agreement (LTMA) as well.

Sustainable cruise value chain action plans (Mr. Marjan Dumanić, Split Dalmatia County)

SIROCCO project aims to enhance the sustainability of cruise maritime/coastal tourism and to reduce its negative impacts in the MED Area. It created a Sustainable Cruise Tourism Joint Action Plan based on the outcomes of studying 5 real-life cruise value chains in different Mediterranean destinations (Civitavecchia, Valencia, Split, Rhodes, Limassol) and their destination-specific Action Plans.

The joint action plan has a good level of transferability and replicability since it incorporates inputs not only from the five SIROCCO destinations, but also from the wider sustainable and responsible tourism environment and addresses areas in most need of action in achieving a more sustainable and responsible cruise tourism in the MED. In addition to this, it adopts a value chain perspective, placing emphasis not only to the cruise line – port interface, but rather to the cruise tourism – destination interaction.

The project contributes also with the “MED cruise tourism foresight”, having identified the key factors that influence the evolution of cruise maritime tourism and having presented plausible future scenarios for 2 time horizons (2025 and 2030).

Bike sharing for cruise passengers, when does it work? (Mr. Fabio Tomasi, Area Science Park)

LOCATIONS project’s main objective is to mitigate the impact cruise ships related traffic has on cities, through a larger use of innovative sustainable transport solutions, thus improving the overall quality of life of both citizens and passengers. With this purpose, it produced a set of 14 modular packages, a sort of catalogue of potential replicating measures (electric mobility, shared mobility, green excursions, bike-sharing, etc.) that could be adapted to the local context by local officers in the building of their own low carbon transport plans and that can be easily downloaded from the web.

The approach is based on analysing other projects and tools, such as SUMPORT, which set up a pilot to test an e-bike sharing system within the premises of the Port of Valencia, intended to be used by the ferry and cruise passengers. This allowed to see weaknesses and opportunities to replicate the methodology in other ports of the MED area in a more effective way.

A handbook on sustainable mobility in the MED Area (Ms. Valentina Ridolfi, Agenzia Piano Strategico Rimini)

MOBILITAS project aims to enhance possibilities to develop a more sustainable mobility in the tourist areas of the Mediterranean. The main result of the project in terms of transferability has been the Handbook on sustainable mobility in the MED area, a set of measures which plans to help the local authorities of tourist destinations to tackle the most common urban mobility problems (ccongestion, road safety/road traffic accidents, noise pollution, climate change/CO2 emissions, air pollution, land use consumption).

The Handbook contains the results of all seven projects of the MED Urban Transport Community and is built on two complementary pillars: mobility policies (action plans, crowd-sourcing tools, tourist mobility scenarios, operational models etc.) and mobility actions (analysis & simulations, bike lanes, IT tools – Infomobility – Apps, new urban spaces, sharing & pooling systems).

The Handbook is available on line.



Q: To both Mrs Stylianou and Mr Coroyannakis: Do you think that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a long-lasting change in tourists and residents' attitudes towards mobility? Such as for example, avoiding public transport like buses or shared cars (like Uber / taxis) in favour of private cars (rentals / owned) and bike sharing systems within the cities either for short distance commuting / leisure?

A: Life after COVID will not be the same for tourism and mobility. It will have an unavoidable strong impact on them, but we have to mitigate it. It is early to take any conclusion, but of course people will avoid public transport. We have to see the opportunity, take advantage for other means of transportation (cycling, walking, …). Anyway, we are constantly assessing through tools and evaluation programmes within the destinations about the evolving of COVID-19 situation.

Q: Could you share your thoughts about road safety? Road injuries are the biggest killers of tourists globally (along with drowning).

A: Safety is a key issue in tourist mobility. Many of the project islands have special programmes in this sense: developing mobility culture for school, safety programmes for bus drivers, eco-driving lessons, etc. However, in smaller destinations there is less of a hassle and we try to promote cycle paths outside the busy centres or high traffic areas.

Q: Have you thought about accessible transportation and information for people with disabilities and special needs (wheelchair users, blind people, families with strollers)?

A: In DESTINATIONS we have several actions facilitating the access of disabled persons to tourism attractions, beaches and other venues.  On our websites there is always a section dedicated to this issue and we cooperate with different associations of disable people.

Q: How do you plan to give continuity to the actions of this project?

A: We constantly try to ensure a long-term engagement of stakeholders, often using our own budget or trying to get funding from wherever we can in order to ensure continuity.

Q: Do you have any tool to measure the perception/valuation of residents about all these mobility solutions, designed initially for tourists?

A: Locals benefit from what we do for tourists. Tourist products are interesting for them as well. However, in project islands we do not promote mass tourism.

Q: To Ms. Grégoire: We all know that long term successful monitoring process is a hard task to achieve. Who is monitoring the economic impacts of the route - you as a crown organization or the partners in all the countries? Is the set of indicators long or short? How do you verify all the data?

A: We have many partners in all countries, that gather information (counters, surveys, etc.), report on these data and put these reports together in order to produce a transnational report.

Q: To Ms. Grégoire: Do you have any set of rules for the construction of this route in the different countries?

A: We do not provide a specific set of rules, every region establishes the rules to improve the cycle paths. Our role is to gather data on the problems of the route, on what should be improved.

Q: To Mr. Tomasi and Mr. Dumanić: Do you think the current situation of the COVID-19 could help to create a more responsive framework in stakeholders and make them more reactive in uptaking this action plans/measures on cruise tourism?

A: We do not know how people will react to this crisis. Croatia experienced a big drop of tourists, so the Minister of Tourism is now welcoming any kind of tourists. It is hard to predict how this will affect the future.

Q: To Mr. Tomasi: How many cruise passangers used the system of e-bike sharing in Ravenna?

A: Among passengers, the main users of the bike-sharing are crew members (for every 3 passengers there is a crew member).


The Sustainable Tourism Community - an Interreg MED initiative co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – relies on 24 territorial cooperation projects and almost 400 organisations (mainly public authorities, private companies, universities, NGOs and international organisations) active in 13 European countries to promote sustainable tourism by capitalizing on tools and good practices developed by its projects.

The MED Sustainable Tourism community is coordinated by DIBA - Barcelona Provincial Council (Barcelona, Spain) in partnership with UNIMED - Mediterranean Universities Union (Rome, Italy), University of Thessaly (Thessaly, Greece), Arco Latino, a network of local public authorities (Tarragona, Spain), NECSTouR - Network of European Regions or Sustainable and Competitive Tourism (Brussels, Belgium), Plan Bleu UNEP MAP, the Regional Activity Centre of Mediterranean Action Plan (Marseille, France), Adriatic and Ionian Euroregion (Pula, Croatia), RDA Green Karst Regional Development Agency (Pivka, Slovenia).


Civitas Destinations is an Horizon 2020 project that builds up an integrated approach to address mobility and tourism, testing balanced strategies to face the rising challenges of these two growing sectors and to achieve sustainable development and a better quality of life in Funchal, Limassol, Rethymno, Elba, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Valletta.

It develops a set of innovative actions in order to implement sustainable mobility measures and actions with the view to offering intelligent sustainable transport solutions for tourists and residents alike through innovation and cooperation with all major stakeholders. These solutions aim to improve urban accessibility, the cost effectiveness and integration of transport services and to reduce emissions and energy consumption.


The Urban Transports Community is an Interreg MED Programme initiative that promotes sustainable urban mobility planning across the Euro-Mediterranean region. Gathering seven territorial cooperation projects, almost 120 organisations active in twelve countries, this initiative proposes, capitalises and replicates effective and sustainable mobility solutions to reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life of the population and the environment.

The Urban Transports Community is featured by a project lead by MedCities (Barcelona, Spain), in partnership with UNIMED Mediterranean Universities Union (Rome, Italy), Area Science Park (Trieste, Italy), CODATU (Lyon, France), CIVINET CY-EL (Cyprus-Greece), POLIS, Cities and Regions for transport innovation (Brussels, Belgium), and Durres Municipality.