Two years of CROSSDEV: what’s next for future sustainable tourists in the Mediterranean?
CROSSDEV - Cultural Routes for Sustainable Social and economic Development in Mediterranean - aims at increasing tourism competitiveness and attractiveness of less known destinations and rural areas in four Mediterranean countries - Lebanon, Italy, Jordan, and Palestine - enhancing the Cultural Routes experiences, increasing skills and knowledge, opportunities for decent life and jobs for all.
Since its start in September 2019, the seven members of the CROSSDEV partnership managed to get so many things done: we engaged with stakeholders, hosted and attended trainings and capacity building sessions, mapped almost 300 assets in five different project areas, realized someone’s dreams in Palestine, signed important agreements in Aqaba, empowered women through business in UmmQais, promoted public trainings, awareness and information events in Sicily, participated in international debates on sustainable tourism in Lebanon. And that just to mention a few of our accomplishments.
Recently, we also started reflecting on our common identity and objectives, a process in which the Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact, as future tourists will have needs we couldn’t possibly imagine before.
The role of technology in reaching and engaging with new audiences has been long discussed. In fact, one of CROSSDEV’s technological outputs will be a digital territorial platform. Furthermore, we’re pushing this topic for discussion, as we recently did in the online event, Dietrofrónt!. Organized by CROSSDEV’s lead partner CISP – Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli – the event was a round table on the use of new technologies for the much-needed transition from mass tourism to sustainable tourism.
Today, we have two major questions upon us: who are our tourists and how can we meet their new needs? In our reflection so far, thanks also to tourism marketing workshops and digital platform related activities, we defined a large target audience – composed by responsible and conscious travelers – and we focused on their peculiarities while designing new travel experiences. All that bearing in mind that sustainable tourism implies good, meaningful, and long-lasting relationships among people.
What’s next? Guided by partner CoopCulture, we are currently working on the creation of compelling and informative content for our common digital platform. At the same time, we are developing five sustainable tourist products with the invaluable participation of local communities and experienced travelers. The objective: designing original and responsible tourist packages that, while sounding inviting for responsible tourists, can and will be implemented by locals thanks to their enhanced and newly developed skills and will become a crucial tool to boost local economy.
To move allows us to leave home for the open road, where we can exult in the pleasure of going somewhere. But to become a savvy traveler means we need to move more than just our feet. We need to move our minds and our hearts if we are to have more than superficial encounters with other cultures. In this sense, movement, in all its myriad meanings, is one of the keys to transformational travel, which requires a shift from passive to active ways of engaging with the world.
The last year of CROSSDEV project has began: follow us to discover experiences and products that will change our communities and our tourists’ lives!