BEST MED project partners met in Sliema, Malta on 30-31 January for the first steering committee and kick-off conference of the PANORAMED Strategic Project “BEST MED – Beyond European Sustainable Tourism MED Path”, hosted by Maltese partner Malta Marittima Agency. The project – funded by the Interreg MED Programme and led by El Legado Andalusí Foundation – will focus on the sustainability dimension of tourism in the Mediterranean area, in coordination and complementarity with the other recently approved strategic project on Coastal & Maritime Tourism, SMARTMED.

The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions – through its Intermediterranean Commission (IMC) – will be highly involved in the project’s capitalisation activities, as coordinator of the related work package, with a focus on strengthening cooperation and synergies with the rest of relevant actors of the Interreg Med Community and beyond.

The steering committee provided the opportunity for project partners to receive a project general overview on management, administrative and financial issues provided by El Legado Andalusí Foundation, as well as specific recommendations from the Project Officer Francesca Marcato, and communication guidelines from the Communication Officer Paulo Emerenciano, from the Joint Secretariat of the Programme.

Lazio Region and University of Algarve, respectively coordinating the studying and testing activities within the project, outlined the related work packages, focusing on the methodology and approach to be used as well as other technical issues of these two phases. A short introduction on the transferring work package was then given by the Chamber of Commerce of Rijeka, partner involved in both strategic projects on Coastal & Maritime Tourism, followed by a video contribution by Calabria Region, also participating in this work package. Lastly, the CPMR Intermediterranean Commission carried out a presentation of the project’s capitalisation objectives and work plan.

The kick-off conference took place the following day, starting with the welcome speech of Jason Bongailas from Malta Marittima Agency who stressed the important commitment of Malta to supporting economic growth, and particularly blue growth, while ensuring its sustainability in the Mediterranean. Ana Carreño from El Legado Andalusí Foundation briefly presented the main project challenges and objectives giving then the floor to Francesca Marcato, the Project Officer of the Joint Secretariat of the Programme. In this context, special attention was paid to the governance dimension of the PANORAMED strategic projects that should lead to a long-term, integrated and cross-cutting approach in the development and management of sustainable tourism policies in the Mediterranean. The conference closed with a presentation of good practices on tourism sustainability in the Mediterranean made by José Francisco Benitez Santos from the project partner Junta de Andalusia, which included a focus on the key results of the MITOMED+ project, another Interreg MED project where the CPMR was involved.

A coordination meeting involving the two strategic projects BEST MED and SMARTMED will take place in Madrid next 20 February, with the aim to facilitate the exchanges among PANORAMED, strategic and horizonal projects.

For further information, please contact Claudia GUZZON