Funded by the Interreg Mediterranean Programme, the MEDCYCLETOUR project has a budget of over €2.5 million. It is a three-year project that started in February 2017 and will end in August 2020. It takes place along the long-distance EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route, which connects many destinations that are popular tourist attractions in their own right: Cádiz, Barcelona, Nice, Venice, the Croatian Dalmatian Coast, Cyprus, etc.
The main objective of the MEDCYCLETOUR project is to use the EuroVelo 8 route as a tool to influence regional and national policies in favor of sustainable and responsible tourism, providing transnational solutions in coastal areas across the Mediterranean. The Charter for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism in the Mediterranean Area, which consists in a clear one-page document summarizing the benefits of, the objectives of and the actions for the development of cycling tourism in the MED area, will be a very useful document to achieve this.
Investing in sustainable and responsible tourism is especially important now that Europe is suffering the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis has conversely given a significant boost to cycling and cycle tourism, with cycling being recognised as a resilient and healthy mode of transport. The first available data from several European countries shows that citizens are massively switching to cycling. It is crucial to build on this momentum to further develop both cycling and cycle tourism in the Mediterranean. Now is the time to invest in good cycling infrastructure and look at successful measures being put in place all around Europe, to ensure people will keep choosing two-wheels holidays in the months and years to come.
The Charter is a perfect tool to involve stakeholders across the Mediterranean region in the development of cycling tourism and EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. If you are a public or private stakeholder interested in joining the Charter for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism, please fill in this online form to inform us. You can also contribute by spreading the word and sharing this article and your support to the Charter on social media, newsletters and your website.
Hereafter you will find the main bullet points included in the document.
Benefits of cycling tourism for the MED area
- Cycling is a truly environmentally sustainable means of both transport and tourism.
- Cycling tourism can contribute to the economic sustainability of destinations.
- Local communities and wider society benefit from the development of dedicated cycling infrastructure, contributing to social sustainability too.
Objectives for developing cycling tourism in the MED area
- Build and sign attractive, safe, direct and comfortable European, national, regional and local cycle routes.
- Develop more dedicated services to cater for the increasing numbers of cycling tourists coming to the MED area.
- Improve and promote the image of cycling and cycling tourism and the positioning of the Mediterranean region as a cycling tourism destination.
- All relevant stakeholders should collaborate to realise the activities above, establish or support National EuroVelo Coordination Centres.
- Adequate financial resources need to be allocated in order to realise the objectives listed above. This will require a blend of EU funds from the financial perspective (2021-2027), national/regional/local public resources and private investments.
Actions to develop and promote cycling tourism in the MED area
- Exchange know-how, expertise, best practices and experiences to implement the objectives and actions described in this charter.
- Raise awareness and advocate for financial resources for developing cycling tourism at all levels of government.
- Implement those measures (described above) that are our responsibility.
- Continue to collaborate on the international level across the MED area to develop sustainable and responsible cycling tourism.
Author(s): Florence Grégoire
Cover photo: Makarska Riviera, Brela, Croatia © Photo: Ivan Šardi/CNTB