The UNWTO is to work with Greek tourism chiefs to measure the sustainable development of coastal and maritime tourism in the Mediterranean.
A research station based at Greece’s University of the Aegean will analyse the environmental, economic and social impact of tourism in the region.
The collaboration was unveiled at the UNWTO High-Level Conference on Coastal and Maritime Tourism, held in Athens last week and co-hosted by cruise body Clia and Celebrity Cruises.
Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO secretary-general, said: “Coastal and maritime tourism is one of the most important economic drivers within the Mediterranean basin.
“This new research centre can provide key data to guide the restart and future development of the sector, ensuring it fulfils its potential to provide opportunity for coastal communities and to protect and celebrate natural and cultural heritage.”
Harry Theoharis, Greece’s tourism minister, said: “I express my immense gratitude for UNWTO’s support in this endeavour. The research centre will soon become a reference point for the study and protection of our coasts and seas.”
Pierfrancesco Vago, global chairman of Clia and executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said: “Clia is pleased to support the UNWTO research and monitoring centre on sustainability and coastal maritime tourism in the Mediterranean.
“As part of the cruise industry’s commitment to responsible travel, we are pursuing carbon neutral cruising in Europe by 2050, and we work closely with cruise destinations and coastal communities to support economic growth in a sustainable manner.”