In order to give impetus to the cooperation between coastal and maritime tourism stakeholders, and in line with its Communication “A European Strategy for more growth and jobs in coastal and maritime tourism“ the European Commission aims to support the development of transnational and interregional partnerships, networks, clusters and smart specialisation strategies.
In this regard, a Conference on Smart cooperation in coastal and maritime tourism was organised on 20 January 2015, to strengthen the role of cluster organisations and networks as drivers for growth and jobs in the maritime and coastal tourism sectors in Europe. The workshop aimed also at exploring cluster-driven linkages between the sector and with other related industries, such as creative industries, marine and maritime heritage and fishing activities.
During the event, the CPMR was represented by George Alexakis, Regional Councillor of the Island of Crete (GR) speaking on “Bringing maritime players together” within the session on “Building and strengthening partnerships in clusters”.
“We need to close gaps in tourism data availability and promote a pan-European dialogue between cruise operators, ports and coastal tourism stakeholders, supporting the development of transnational and interregional partnerships, networks, clusters and smart specialisation strategies,” stated George Alexakis in his speech, after underlining also “the need for an EU action on qualification requirements for professional yacht skippers and recreational boating, as well as the implementation of the Protocol to the Barcelona Convention on Integrated Coastal Management and the promotion of Maritime Spatial Planning and Green Infrastructures”. Furthermore, the CPMR delegate pointed out “the importance of the diversification and integration of coastal and inland attractions, including through transnational thematic itineraries like cultural, religious or ancient trade routes”.
Clusters and networks are powerful instruments for innovation and growth at regional and local level and cluster organisations and transnational networks are often appropriate intermediaries to facilitate business cooperation also between other clusters and networks, operating in the same or different sectors.