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WORKSHOP – 18th March, Brussels (12:00 – 15:30)

Sustainable coastal tourism: which prospects for the Blue Growth of the sector?

Facilitation: Iwona Gin (Nausicàa) and Gloria de Paoli (ACTeon)

Rapporteur Alba L’Astorina (H2020 BLUMED CSA)



Traditionally, coastal mass tourism in Europe has been based so far on the socalled 3S model: sea, sand and sun. Today, ever-increasing masses of tourists reach coastal areas every summer, and this “invasion” impacts coastal and marine environments. Coastal development is an outstanding example of such impacts: it is a bulging phenomenon concerning long stretches of the European coast, and it implies the artificialisation of coastal and marine ecosystems, which leads to habitat fragmentation and deterioration. The environmental impact of tourism is threatening the economic viability of the sector, in a vicious circle. At the same time, coastal tourism is a blue growth sector, as it has the potential to create diffuse well-being and jobs while contributing to the good state of coastal and marine environments.
In the framework of the Blue Growth Maritime Strategy, the European Commission has identified maritime and coastal tourism as a driver for the European economy, innovation and growth and an area with a potential to foster a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe. It is the biggest coastal maritime sector in terms of gross added value and employment (Blue Growth Study).
Despite fostering growth and generating wealth and business opportunities, the coastal and maritime tourism industry is faced with multiple challenges. The sector should develop new products that will preserve the attractiveness of coastal and marine ecosystems, raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate; decrease economic inequality and social tensions between relatively poor locals and relatively rich tourists.

How to exploit this potential in a way that sustainably produces economic benefits without harming the natural ecosystems on which it depends?
The workshop on Sustainable Coastal Tourism will bring together scientists, sector representatives, policy makers and urban planners who will discuss the role of Ocean Literacy and Responsible Research and Innovation in contributing to the Blue Growth in the sector. The session will address transversal themes including understanding the needs of society, finding ways to co-create and share knowledge, and contributing to make a change. Combining the ideas and insights from the varied group of participants, we will identify key messages to share at the plenary sessions of the 2019 Ocean Dialogues. These will also include participant views on key success factors and opportunities from EU policies and initiatives, ideas and proposals for actions that will feed into the conference Manifesto that will be discussed at the European Parliament on the 20th March.


Time Activity
12.10 Warming up + Brief intro to the Session
12.20 Keynote speech 1: European Atlas of the Seas by EMODNET
12.30 Keynote speech 2: Agathe Clerc, Surfrider Foundation Europe – Working on European beaches: education tools and events set up and used by SFE
12.40 Experiences and reflections on OL in Sustainable coastal tourism from the perspective of ResponSEAble project
12.50 Experiences and reflections on RRI in Sustainable coastal tourism from the MARINA project perspective
13.00 Lunch Break
14.00 Group activity Participants will first brainstorm on: • Societal needs • Finding ways to share and co-create knowledge meaningful to all target groups • Making change happen via OL and RRI • Key success factors • Opportunities and constraints in current EU policies and initiatives to make change happen. They will work in 5 groups, one per key message to define and refine one key message per group.
15.00 Sharing of key messages: The group reconvenes to share key outcomes (6-8 min per group) and conclusions.
15.30 End of the parallel session



Needs and demands

Framing the narrative right, logical order, positive message, balance between audiences and how to pitch messages. What is the message you want to tell people and how.

Co-creating and sharing knowledge

Social media as a challenge but also as an opportunity (dialogue). Can use to co-create ideas

Initiate/ Contributing for change

Emotions, image, text, celebrities, events… get it right!

Pre conditions for success

Need to provide a system knowledge & governance to support system thinking because everything is interconnected

Constraints and opportunities in current EU Policies

Blue Society for Blue Growth. Integrate the social dimension into the Blue Growth policy and economy discourse