The Mediterranean region is welcoming millions of tourists every year. Though the tourism sector represents almost 11% of the region GDP and almost the 12% of the employment, its growth is stagnating while the consequences on the environment and the socio-economic fabrics are becoming more severe.

The MED Sustainable Tourism Community - which gathers 14 Interreg MED Programme-funded projects – is promoting the "Athens Declaration for a Sustainable Tourism", pledging for a greater engagement of policy makers and all the stakeholders of the region to make a change at policy and managerial level because the future of tourism has to be sustainable. So far, the declaration has been signed by representatives of all the projects of the Community and of the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg MED Programme, during the second community-building event, which took place 4-5 October 2017, in Athens, Greece.

Concered by the economic growth of the whole region, by the preservation of the tangible and intangible cultural and natural heritage and by the socio-economic sustainability of the tourism industry, the MED Sustainable Tourism Community is already joining forces to attain four goals:

· contributing to address tourism pressures,

· enhancing attractiveness and tourism offer,

· strengthening planning and management practices towards sustainable tourism,

· building a strong community of projects and stakeholders.

The "Athens Declaration for a Sustainable Tourism" is the first joint effort of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community calling for a greater engagement of all the key actors and stakeholders of the tourism sector at local, national and European level.

The MED Sustainable Tourism Community was created in November 2016 within the Interreg MED Programme and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Community comprises 14 projects, more than a hundred partners (public authorities, NGOs, international organisations, universities and the private sector) in nine European countries facing the Mediterranean Sea.

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