On 16 and 17 February 2021, the third SUSTOURISMO project meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions. The meeting was the occasion for discussing the advancements of the project’s activities, focusing in particular on the main results of the first scientific and data collection activities aimed to support the development of the SUSTOURISMO touristic App and the local touristic packages and rewards systems to be tested during Summer 2021. Hopefully, the current sanitary emergency will rapidly improve as it is strongly affecting all economic sectors, tourism in particular.
Day 1 (16/02/2021)
Ivona Petrovic, project coordinator, welcomed all partners on behalf of Municipality of Tivat as the hosting partner of the meeting, and Danica Banjevic, Managing Director at Tivat Tourism Organisation presented the importance of the tourism sector in Montenegro (in 2018, 25% of Montenegro GDP was related to tourism) and the strong effort to promote a more sustainable tourism at local level. In fact, since 2011 both the public and private sector invested several resources and launched many projects focusing on supporting environment protection, valorisation of local culture and promotion of sustainable touristic solutions such as e-bike and solar boats in Tivat.
Dr Maria Morfoulaki, head of the Sustainable Mobility Laboratory of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas/Hellenic Institute of Transport (CERTH/HIT), introduced the technical sessions and the main goals of the meeting. In particular, she underlined the importance of starting from the data and scientific evidences collected in the first part of the project in order to develop the SUSTOURISMO App and the local touristic packages and rewards systems, to be implemented in the 10 pilot areas.
On the first day, the Institute for Transport and Logistics (ITL), WPT1 coordinator, presented the results of a large study aimed to analyse the policy documents on sustainable tourism and transport in the ADRION area at national, regional and local levels. The study, focusing on existing strategic, political and legislative frameworks for sustainable tourism and mobility promotion, evidenced the complexity of the tourism sector and the presence of several policies and measures already supporting the growth of sustainable tourism. Good coordination with these stakeholders and policies is fundamental to develop the SUSTOURISMO innovative tools and tourist packages.
The Central European Initiative-Executive Secretariat (CEI-ES) presented the activities related to the analysis of the existing projects and experiences on SUSTOURISMO topics, showing the best and bad practices in support to the pilots’ development and implementation. The main lesson learnt is that it is not a question to reinvent the wheel, but to start from the several successful experiences already developed at EU level to tackle the unsustainability of mass tourism
The Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (RDA LUR) presented the preliminary results of the surveys conducted in all 10 project’s countries in order to map the main tourists’ needs in relation to sustainable tourism and mobility promotion. In particular, RDA LUR coordinated the presentations of the single partners on the main results of the local part of the surveys. Even if data were collected when the Covid-19 emergency changed the normal touristic trends (from September 2020 to January 2021), they are still very interesting for a better development of the SUSTOURISMO touristic packages at local levels. In particular, it was possible to collect data regarding the importance of Apps for providing reliable data for organizing travels in a more sustainable way, getting also to know interesting sustainable tourist packages including forms of sustainable mobility as well as rewards for sustainable behaviours
Finally, CERTH/HIT coordinated the activities related to the preparation of the ground for SUSTOURISMO testing phase. Each partners, starting from the data and evidences collected in the previous activities, presented their first ideas and concrete solutions on the tourist packages and rewards systems to be developed at local level in each pilot area. Despite some difficulties related to the ongoing Covid-19 emergency, these tourist packages are under development and ready to be tested during Summer 2021. In order to support these tourist packages, specific reward systems are under development in each pilot areas with the aim to help local stakeholders in the promotion of sustainable tourism. All these activities are very important, as they will provide reliable and effective information for the common SUSTOURISMO App, a tool aimed at helping tourists in adapting to sustainable tourism and mobility behaviours. App’s design and development is coordinated by CERTH/HIT.
Day 2 (17/02/2021)
The second day of the meeting opened with a detailed presentation of the first internal release of the SUSTOURISMO App coordinated by CERTH/HIT. The App will help tourists make responsible travel choices scrolling down the attractions of the city, sustainable mobility options, attractive tourist packages, collecting points and receiving gifts for each sustainable actions tourists takes. A large discussion among project’s partners helps on further improving the App in order to better tackle the local challenges.
Following the SUSTOURISMO App presentation, ITL presented a first proposal for the definition of a methodology for the App test and assessment under real life conditions during both the implementation and operative phases. A specific focus will be dedicated to the collection and elaboration of the suggestions about the App’s improvements and of the feedbacks on tourist packages and awards from the tourists.
Once the session dedicated to the SUSTOURISMO App development and monitoring ended, ITL presented the results of the first rounds of local Round Tables aimed to involve the main key local stakeholders in the development of local pilots. In this first round, very interesting suggestions were collected in all the project’s countries and the bases for more structured collaborations were defined. The second round of the local Round Tables is planned for March 2021 in order to assist SUSTOURISMO partners in the promotion of the project’s tools and activities.
The following presentation held by CEI-ES was related to the project’s capacity building actions. After the first capacity building seminar held in November 2020, a second event is foreseen in April 2021 to continue to get closer to the tourism-sector-related stakeholders and foster a fruitful learning process.
More information about the upcoming webinar will be available soon on the project’s social media. CEI-ES also presented the advancement of communication activities. Follow SUSTOURISMO social media (Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook) to be updated on all the project’s news and activities, as well as on innovative ideas on how to promote sustainable tourism and mobility in your territories.
The meeting ended with the financial and administrative management activities and the Steering Committee Group coordinated by CERTH/HIT, where the plan of work for the next challenging months for SUSTOURISMO was settled.
Stay tuned on the several news coming in the next months from the SUSTOURISMO project