Med Pearls project closed
The EU project 'Med Pearls', the brainchild of the Italian non-profit association Mediterranean Pearls, closed on 31 May 2024. we celebrate the journey through the project's results.
As we come together to bid a fond farewell to the Med Pearls project, it is with great excitement and pride that we want to reflect on the remarkable journey we have embarked upon four years ago. The dedicated efforts from everyone involved in the project have left an indelible mark on the slow tourism landscape in the Mediterranean region, and with this article we wish to celebrate our accomplishments and a give a heartfelt thank you to all those who have been a part of this incredible endeavour.
Started in September 2019, the Med Pearls project was born with a specific goal in mind:
To internationally position the Mediterranean as a unique and integral destination to experience the Med lifestyle through SlowTourism, inviting travellers to discover sustainably and responsibly new destinations while taking time to have direct contact with local communities.
Contrary to most models of tourism in the Mediterranean basin, which are based on mass tourism and follow a fragmented vision of the region, the Med Pearls wanted to become a revolutionary conception. One in which the whole of the Mediterranean was branded under one concept, that integrated and built synergies between the different Med countries with the goal of promoting a more sustainable form of tourism.
Today, spanning across six diverse countries -Egypt, Greece, Italy ( Mediterranean Pearls APS) Jordan, Palestine and Spain- the project has made a lasting impact. Through collaborative efforts, we have developed and nurtured slow tourism experiencesin contrasting 13 pilot areas, unlocking the hidden treasures and authentic cultures of these remarkable destinations. These experiences aim to transform the way travelerstravellers engage with the Mediterranean, andMediterranean by want fto fostering a deeper connection and while enhancing a more meaningful exploration.
Up until now, Slow Tourism has remained a fairly new concept that evolved from the Slow Food and Cittaslow movements that dated back to the 80’s and 90’s. However, in 2020 the Med Pearls project undertook the major exercise of compiling bibliography on the matter and define the concept. By studying in great detail, the strategies of 6 different Slow Tourism destinations, the project was able to draw conclusions one what Slow Tourism is; and how to help the project beneficiaries and any tourism agents willing to incorporate it to their portfolio of products. Complementary to this, the project also published a series of studies on the demand of this type of tourism in 7 outbound markets, and guidelines on how to promote and commercialise sustainable destinations in with innovative tools.
The project's dedication to promoting sustainable tourism has resulted in the creation of 19 slow tourism productsand approximately 200 unique experiences. These carefully crafted offers, have provided travellers with unforgettable moments, and immersed them in the local traditions, heritage, and natural beauty of the Mediterranean. Together with the caring collaboration of our partners, and the professional input of the participating DMCs, these products and experiences are a testament of our commitment to sustainability and enriching travel.
Our communication and promotion efforts have been extensive and diverse. From dynamic online marketing campaigns to attending prestigious travel fairs like the WTM (World Travel Market), we have strived to raise awareness and showcased the extraordinary offerings of our destinations. Furthermore, the different familiarization and press trips have allowed us to share the stories and experiences first-hand, inspiring wanderlust in travel agents, tour operators and travel reporters from different parts of the world. Thus, developing connections with the local companies of the regions, and the demands of the international market.
In our commitment to technological innovation, the project has also assisted in the development of 10 ICT solutionsthat aim to innovate in the promotion of Slow Tourism in the project destinations. These solutions have harnessed the power of technology to enhance visibility, streamline information sharing, and facilitate the distribution and promotion efforts of the local travel agencies that have created the products. Through these advancements, we have embraced the digital era while staying true to the principles of sustainable and slow travel.
As we bid farewell to the project, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all the partners, stakeholders, and team members who have contributed to its success. Your dedication and tireless efforts have been instrumental in achieving these remarkable milestones. Together, we have fostered a sustainable tourism legacy that will continue to shape the Mediterranean's future for générations to come.