Tourism in the Mediterranean Sea

Cover of Tourism in the Mediterranean Sea

An Italian Perspective



Table of contents

(22 chapters)

‘Tourism for all’ is a way to consider tourism activities and services inclusive, involving all people, guests and residents, in the same activities and creating the dialogue, peace and human development.

This tourism is able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in two ways: first, it implements human rights, respecting the possibilities of everyone and second, it activates the process of development from the local to global impacts for sustainable development, thus eradicating the poor in the local level.

These are ambitious goals; on the one hand they are certainly difficult to achieve, but on the other hand they are necessary to implement in order to make tourism a more and more sustainable economic activity, given its international spread. Certain sustainable development is ambiguous ground but in the tourism activities it is very pressing for the negative impacts of the classical tourism model.

These assumptions are useful to analyze the costs and benefits of inclusive tourism, thanks to the pyramid of accessibility. This study will in fact make it possible to determine, on the basis of the resources present in the territory, the opportunities and limits of this type of tourism.

In European destinations, above all, in Italy, the openness to inclusive tourism can constitute a new cycle of tourism product such as to activate that interest and curiosity that drives tourists to visit the destination. This chapter describes at first the criteria for the planning of tourism for all, and finally, in the second part, it will deal with the international policies for the realization of tourism for all.

The traditional model of tourist destination is characterized by tourist attractions and related infrastructure, often avoiding the local people. The resort or tourist villages are born to entertain tourists, but they did not involve local people. Nowadays the tourism and the resorts are changing, and so a lot of destinations are involving a new idea of tourism with the accomplishment of the local people that can support the persons with specials needs to live an independent travel as inhabitans.

It is therefore necessary to look for new models in tourism that can create a dialogue, peace and fruitful encounter between guests and the local community. This involvement, in fact, can be activated directly or indirectly – with or without the presence of the local community in all activities of tours – but always in accordance with the need of each other. Tourism for all is a new idea but is the future of tourism for different reasons: the first is that the needs of people, especially those with differences or disabilities, are increased in all parts of the world and they required the solution immediately and tailor-made; the second consists in the hypothesis that if guests can have more economic and especially technological potential, they can support and transfer their know-how to all those who suffer from that particular disorder, providing this benefit; and the third gives sustainability using the appropriate resources to enhance tourist activities.

In this new vision, the World Tourism Organization has attributed to tourism for all a broader vision than accessible tourism alone, combining sustainable and social tourism in a single form of tourism, including every person regardless of gender or other forms of diversity.

In the innovative strategy of inclusive tourism, it should be pointed out that destinations will have to develop plans and appropriate policies for sustainability and accessibility. This form of tourism, which certainly has social aims, could also be conflicting if, for example, accessibility makes use of very invasive technologies or not too much in line with the efficiency and protection of the environment. Tourism for all, therefore, becomes an ambitious project to be implemented at the local level to create a model, so valid to the global level.


The ancient monuments of Taormina represent one of the richest archaeological heritage of Sicily. Some of them, such as the Hellenistic-Roman Theatre, the odeum, the so-called Naumachia, are annually frequented by thousands of tourists, while others remain practically unknown to the general public. The urban fabric of the Hellenistic-Roman period of which these monuments were part was profoundly modified by the transformations that the town has known, having grown on itself almost without interruption until today. For these reasons, as in many other cases of cities with continuity of occupation, ancient monuments are perceived by the visitor as decontextualized relics, immersed in a very suggestive landscape, but very different from the original one. Usually the didactic apparatus available to visitors is not able to give knowledge of the original relations between monument and city. Decades of topographical and archaeological research have allowed us to identify the ancient urban layout of Taormina, and it is therefore possible today to take up the challenge of offering the public a deeper and more complete knowledge of its archaeological monuments in their ancient context. In fact, thanks to modern technologies, it is now possible to share the results of archaeological research with a wider public and to virtually recreate the ancient urban landscape. This contribution intends to present the solutions made available by these technologies to define a new strategy to enhance the city's archaeological heritage and to offer the public a truly immersive experience in its history.


The current world scenario, with the declared COVID-19 pandemic, is characterized by an unprecedented crisis, with widespread repercussions on the entire economic system. Italy, being one of the main outbreaks, was hit very strongly by the virus both as regards to the health system and the high number of infections, as well as the economic impact due to the lockdown of many businesses. Among these, tourism was highly affected by the pandemic due to the imposed restrictions on the entire travel and transport chains.

The current recession, especially in tourism, leads to rethink and implement new development models, based on safety devices aimed at guaranteeing safety for travellers and all people, with consistency on sustainability and by reducing impacts on environmental and cultural resources, as provided by the 2030 Agenda goals of the United Nations.


The rediscovery of the medieval routes of Norman origin in Sicily readvocates a system of interconnection between small villages, towns and cities which can be compared to the circulation system: ancient paths and roads are like veins and arteries which are ready to reanimate a body in need of resilience and exciting experiences. The slow tourism of historical routes in a new ecology of tourism currently contributes with increasing significance to the creation of green sustainable tourism, compatible with the territory and respectful of local identities.

This chapter aims to highlight the potential of the slow tourism of the historical routes in order to revive the internal areas from an economic and social point of view. The analysis is focused in particular on the Magna Via Francigena: this route links Palermo and Agrigento through the rural heart of Sicily touching 18 small towns inland. The creation of this route has rewoven broken territorial wefts, restoring dialogue and collaboration between the towns involved. It has revitalized the place consciousness of the territories. It has also encouraged place-based production chains and micro-economies, boosting new income. This route makes a definite contribution to placing marginalized area, towns and territories on the geographical map again.

Therefore the historical routes outline new ways of endogenous development based on the recovery and enhancement of identity assets and local resources.


Beginning with a historical outline and the definition of tourism as a privileged opportunity for physical and spiritual renewal, the author deals with the question of how young people put themselves in touch with religion and spirituality. After 2012, Catholic pastoral has changed: not only devotional attention to the pilgrimages but also an overview of the resources constituted by sacred places as a tool for socioeconomic and cultural development of destinations. Religious tourism means an appropriate moment to let the body relax and to nourish the spirit: from this approach, the author shows examples of religious light tourism’ in Europe founded on an ecumenical approach and on sustainability. The effects are positive: for the offer, new jobs (guides, resorts, enogastronomic and folkloristic services); for the demand, a new way to preserve the beauty of creation for future generations, by offering emotional and not massive travels: Caminos, trekking and slow paths, in order to know local traditions and nature. Therefore, ‘religious light tourism’ is a champion of sustainability and responsible tourism because religious tourism is, usually, less affected by season's trends, social and economic crisis (but not in the present COVID-19!).


The research approach adopted in this article intends to validate ‘place awareness’ as a fundamental element, together and beyond the consideration of classic economic factors, in assessing the endogenous potential of tourism development of a territory. ‘Place awareness’ emerges as a determining factor in the processes of tourist development since it decides the type of relationship that is established with local resources, influencing their use and therefore the forms and modalities of their enhancement. Without the emergence of a ‘place awareness’ capable of recognizing and mobilizing the resources of the territory, the implementation of tourism development policies lead to growth dynamics which are poorly territorialized and predictably not lasting. In order for there to be development of a place, it is necessary that the place is preliminarily renown: the ‘place awareness’ manifests precisely the extent and intensity of this recognition.

To affirm the centrality of ‘place awareness’ in local tourism development processes, Sambuca di Sicilia, located in the Province of Agrigento, was chosen as a case study. The village, following the surprising victory in 2016 of the national competition ‘The most beautiful village in Italy’, is engaged in a promising transition phase with a strong evolutionary potential centred on redefining its identity in terms of a tourist village that focuses on the rich and wide range of local resources available.


Tourism is one of the most important and rapidly growing sectors for economic, cultural and global development of a country. Competition between tourist destinations is increasingly intense and is played internationally in a globalized scenario, where each destination competes with new and different competing destinations. In view of this, the tourism sector has had to equip itself with appropriate decision-making tools for studying and analyzing the competitiveness of the destinations. This chapter focuses on its analysis on the countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, one of the areas with the greatest worldwide attractiveness to tourists, characterized by different levels and models of tourism development. There are areas traditionally dedicated to hospitality, considered world leaders (such as France, Spain and Italy) and countries that have grown rapidly in their wake (Croatia and Greece), and on the other, more recently emerged destinations (Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia) that compete very well, focussing on an ‘exotic’ seaside offer accessible to all. The aim of this chapter is to carry out a research on the tourism competitiveness of Mediterranean countries. The analysis is based on the 14 pillars described in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019. In order to see how the 14 pillars of the competitiveness index are grouping on the countries, we applied the principal component analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis.


This contribution explores the demand side of gastronomy tourism, in particular the characteristics of travellers who are driven by their gastronomic interest. Such ‘passionate tourists’ gain a number of experiences from gastronomy within their holidays, and these ranges from enjoyment to socialization and learning. Regardless of their motivation to travel, gastronomic experiences are often taken in conjunction with other activities available (especially those related to culture). Practical implications for destinations include improvements in thematic offerings (both in terms of variety and authenticity), cross-marketing activities and promotion. In doing so, they need to become aware of the diversity of consumption patterns of these tourists.


Tourism, if properly managed, can represent an opportunity for economic development and social growth especially for territories that have infrastructure deficits and economic problems. This is the case of rural and mountain areas, many of which in Italy correspond to the so-called ‘inner areas’, spaces for which the public sector has developed a specific strategy in recent years. Within these fragile areas, tourism planning plays a crucial role because, more than in other spaces, it must identify balanced goals between fostering economic development and safeguarding local identities. The point of equilibrium can be reached through strategies of resilience, that is, by adopting collective response-and-adaptation tools that allow to manage tourism by mitigating its impact on the local sociocultural organization and to restore sustainable mechanisms of operation of the tourism system.

The communities of the Madonie, a rural and mountainous area close to Palermo, taking advantage of the strategy for inner areas, have decided to start processes of institutional innovation through an intermunicipal governance and also to promote new partnership networks to strengthen the capacity of resilience and development of the territorial system as a ‘green community’. Some territorial planning actions specifically concern the tourism sector, as in the case of the organization of a destination management community and the creation of an ecomuseum.

This chapter analyses some experiences recently conducted by the Madonie communities, which are trying to reconcile, also through planning tools, economic growth and landscape protection.


Tourism is growing globally and expanding into increasingly differentiated thematic areas and places that have thus far been unknown. The Mediterranean region is one of the leading tourism areas in the world accounting for one-third of global tourism receipts and half of global tourism arrivals. However, the countries of this region, undoubtedly attractive for their natural and cultural sites, history and traditions, must face the continuous challenges that the highly competitive global market and the sustainability of the environment and resources pose.

This chapter aims to examine and discuss the relationship between tourism and economic growth in the Mediterranean region, specifically, the issue of economic growth led by tourism and its central focus in public policy. The tourism–economic growth relationship will also highlight the different challenges between the developed and the developing countries. The relationship between tourism and sustainability in the Mediterranean region is the second theme of this contribution. The concept of ‘slow tourism’ as an operational proposal for sustainable tourism is also discussed; specifically, the natural environment and the cultural heritage need to be preserved by all tourism stakeholders.


It is proposed to build a development which illustrates and analyzes the different strategic planning that the main brands of the Hospitality Industry have written to communicate their new strategic direction through their Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility reports. The chapter is developed through a detail of five main brands, but it is based upon a research carried out on 17 hotel chains, in particular: AccorHotels, Best Western Hotels, Boscolo Hotels, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Choice Hotel, Extended Stay America Inc, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Kempinski, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Marriott International, Meliá Hotels International S.A., NH Hotel Group, Vantage Hospitality, Wyndham Worldwide.

The reading of the CRR (Corporate Responsibility Report) has exposed that there is no homogeneity in the structure of the documents contained, both in theoretical and methodological approach: the need for the hotel chains to incorporate the themes of Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability in their business remains. The intention of the research is to offer an overview over the commitments' construction in the CRR of the hotels' chains in order to illustrate whether the corporate strategy of the CRR is lead by choices of strategic repositioning or it is the result of choices of cost rationalization. The development of the chapter focuses on the assessment of the four following points:

  1. Development of the green commitments and the Corporate Strategy

  2. Factors related to cost advantage

  3. Factors related to differentiation advantage

Development of the green commitments and the Corporate Strategy

Factors related to cost advantage

Factors related to differentiation advantage

All the information gathered and analyzed in the research come from official sources found in the Hotel Chains to assess the level of transparency of the performances achieved in relation to the commitments communicated and widespread through the CRR, the CSR reports, the Corporate Annual Report, international projects that integrate the performances and the initiatives that compose and accompany the sustainable and responsible planning that has been used, displayed or downloaded from the corporate website.


The accommodation sector has a strong impact on the host destination in terms of waste production, use of natural resources, physical impact on landscape and natural environment, greenhouse gas emissions, etc. (Hall et al., 2016). For this reason, the increasing attention to sustainability, also in the tourism sector, requires us to rethink the planning of the tourist accommodation development with reference to this approach. Moreover, it is necessary to take into consideration some important emerging trends in tourist consumption, in particular the greater interest in experiential holidays, the deep impact of sharing economy and the phenomena of ‘home stay tourism’ and ‘living like a local’. All of these are significantly orientating the demand and the offer towards a greater attention to authenticity (Grayson & Martinec, 2004; Paulauskaite, Powell, Coca-Stefaniak, &, Morrison, 2017; Tussyadiah & Pesonen, 2016a and 2016b; Tussyadiah & Pesonen, 2018).

The sustainability, environmental, socio-cultural and economic dimensions must be respected to develop forms of sustainable accommodations (Boley & Uysal, 2013; Elkington, 1997, 1998, 2004; Farrell, 1992). They have to be respectful of local communities and their identity and culture, not going beyond the host environmental and social carrying capacities (Graefe & Vaske, 1987; Hernandez-Maskivker, Ferrari, & Cruyt, 2019; Van Der Borg, 1992; Van der Borg, Costa, & Gotti, 1996; Vargas-Sánchez, Porras-Bueno, & de los Ángeles Plaza-Mejía, 2011). Those aspects must be referred not only to environmental ecosystems (Buckley, 2000; Sánchez-Cañizares, Castillo-Canalejo, & Cabeza-Ramírez, 2018) but also to the art, cultural heritage and local socio-cultural tissue of the destination (García-Hernández, la Calle-Vaquero, & Yubero, 2017). This is especially true in tourist destinations that are characterized by a remarkable fragility and sensitiveness. As explained by Jeong, Zielinski, Chang, and Kim (2018, p. 2), sensitive tourist destinations are areas that support responsible tourism, but do not necessarily have all the characteristics of ‘ecotourism’ or ‘responsible tourism’ destinations, as provided in their common definitions (Dolnicar & Leisch, 2008). Responsible tourism is a kind of tourist behaviour that occurs when tourists understand the impact of their behaviour on the environment and local people, and abide by the socio-cultural and environmental norms of the site (Jeong et al., 2018, p. 1).

Our research is focused on Matera. This southern Italian town, which has been the European Capital of Culture in 2019 and World Heritage Site since 1993, has an ancient and very peculiar history. It is a complex urban cave situated in a deep natural canyon, continuously inhabited since the Palaeolithic period. Today Matera, which has frequently been the location of important movies, is a successful international tourist destination and has shown an uninterrupted increase in tourism over the last 20 years. Unfortunately, this rapid tourist growth is threatening the town centre and its surroundings that are part of a protected area. In fact, the dimensions of visitors' flows are endangering a delicate destination with a fragile equilibrium, together with its priceless cultural heritage, traditions and way of living. In addition, it is giving rise to a residents' negative attitude towards tourists. For all these reasons, investments should be made to favour the development of different types of tourist accommodations (e.g. diffuse hotels or some forms of sharing accommodations) that are respectful of local economy, physical environment and cultural heritage as well as of the host community and its culture, traditions and identity (Gilli & Ferrari, 2016).

In this analysis a qualitative approach was adopted by carrying on face-to-face interviews with stakeholders. The main aims were to study to what extent tourist accommodations are perceived as sustainable by the main stakeholders' categories in Matera today, how their sustainability could be improved and if town innovations in this field already exist or could be promoted.


The concept expressed by the phrase ‘accessible tourism’ reflects a case of which there is a lot of talk through the means of communication and through which it is possible to promote a theme that must be at the heart of individual subjects, or the accessibility to the use of public transport and mobility, catering and leisure, so it is a concept that aims to encourage a connection between the various services to make them truly usable for all those people who have diverse needs: children, the elderly, mothers with strollers, people with disabilities who move in a wheelchair or who have difficulty walking, people who have limitations in the upper and/or lower limbs, people who do not see and/or do not hear, who have allergies or intolerances to environments or food. Tourism is, therefore, inclusive. In any case, the word accessibility is configured as an ideal towards which, in order to achieve equality of rights and duties, an equality allows the individual to participate in social life as a whole. Therefore, we must not limit the aforementioned concept, only in relation to tourism, but we must consider it in a broader sense, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as the ‘possibility of accessing the benefits that everyday life can offer, without encountering architectural barriers’.

The tourism sector, first of all, is that sector that has felt the need to pay attention to this issue. In particular, the tourism sector sees on the one hand the tourist offer that is proposed by the accommodation businesses, and on the other, the demand characterized by the need to satisfy ever more varied needs.

Accessibility, from this point of view, is configured as the most important feature that the tourist offer must have because it allows to bring the demand closer to the offer, managing to satisfy all the needs inherent in the characteristics of the various subjects. The characteristics that the tourism sector must possess in order to be able to speak of accessibility are as follows: firstly, this important word contains many meanings. It is customary to consider the following aspects in order to take into consideration the concept of accessibility: architectural barriers, sources of danger and sources of fatigue. The presence of these elements makes accessible tourism incomplete because it cannot satisfy the users of these services.

Very often, in fact, institutions and ministries have framed within the concept of accessibility all those people in wheelchairs or those paraplegic subjects, as well as all those people with reduced motor skills.

It is therefore necessary to be able to frame the users of accessible tourism and in this wake to propose accessible transport, viable accommodation facilities, but also proposals and programs with itineraries that are once again accessible. In any case, the audience of recipients of accessible tourism cannot be framed in a certain and definitive way, since people with reduced mobility or to whom the offer of accessible structures and services is extended may concern not only subjects with different types of disabilities such as problems of motor, sensory, cognitive or health type but also people who have food-type difficulties such as, for example, people with food allergies or intolerances.

Tourist accessibility is, however, a problem that occurs in every situation of everyday life. The solution to solve the problem of accessibility must be implemented consistently and gradually: a shared awareness of the creation of a built, urban and building space is needed, as well as consultation at all legislative levels in order to reach a clear and efficient legislation.

Making every guest feel like an active protagonist of their tourist experience must be the goal for all those who care about the well-being and satisfaction of all their guests.

BeingBeing able to offer accessible hospitality is an indicator of not only efficiency and professionalism but also great attention to the quality of the service, also in the face of specific requests from guests with disabilities. It means being able to be highly competitive and enjoy an advantage that allows you to stand out.

Tourism companies can insert important ethical values within their strategic business vision by investing in a social business.

What are the advantages that accessible hospitality can offer to a hotel? The expansion of the market through: 1) the increase in seasonality; 2) the increase in turnover; and 3) customer loyalty.

To achieve these advantages, however, it is necessary to adopt strategies.

Training is the most powerful tool through which those who govern the company can transfer the philosophy and know-how of industry experts on accessible hospitality directly to their collaborators, both in positions of responsibility and coordination and merely executive personnel – skills necessary to set up an organized structure that aims at the best quality of its services and therefore at the satisfaction of its guests.


Roots tourism is an important tourism segment both quantitatively and qualitatively. However, unlike other countries such as Ireland and Scotland, in Italy the interest for this segment on the part of the institutions and the research world has so far been rather limited. Even the offer of services is not adequate and is not targeted. The chapter illustrates the main characteristics of the demand generated by roots tourists, their reasons to travel, their expectations, their preferences in terms of purchase and consumption behaviour. The phenomenon is analyzed from various points of view, not only of tourists but also of other stakeholders, including local government to understand the current and potential policies to encourage this form of tourism. Roots tourism is linked to other interesting tourism segments: retirement migration, lifestyle migration, second home and residential tourism. A comprehensive overview of marketing provides useful information for planning and implementing strategies aimed at developing travels of emigrants and their descendants to their homeland.


In the last few decades, tourism has become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world, with an increasing economic, social and environmental role. It has been recognised as a strategic driver, able not only to heighten economic growth, employment and enhancement of cultural values, diversity and heritage, but also to help countries transition towards more inclusive and resilient economies. In this framework, slow tourism has been playing an important role, compliant with the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its different forms – such as eco-tourism, rural and village tourism, as well as religious routes – can improve social inclusiveness, poverty reduction and environmental protection while empowering host communities, generating trade opportunities and fostering peace and intercultural understanding.

The pilgrimage on religious routes in particular has been showing a renewed potential. This ancient practice, largely rooted in many confessions as an expression of a mainly religious experience has been gaining new values for both people and territories hosting destinations: its target groups of travellers have enlarged to those looking for spiritual holidays (individuals and groups) as well as well-being and integrated experiences combining religious sites, cultural heritage, landscape and nature, traditions and crafts, food, wine and local events (shared with local people to feel part of the local community). This form of tourism responds to the sustainability challenge as an opportunity for local development in depopulated areas, but still rich in history, nature, art and traditions.

On this basis, this chapter deals with eco-sustainable and religious tourist routes in Sicily (South Italy), focusing on: (1) their relevance in relation to emerging strategies and policies (i.e. cultural ecclesial parks, regional development plans, etc.) (2) and their aptitude to generate sustainable and innovative local development. In particular, it addresses the recent experiences in progress on the Itinerarium Rosaliae in Sicily as opportunities for sustainable and local development.


Tourism sector is one of the main important sectors of the world economy. There are very close, complex and complementary relationships between transport and tourism, in both positive and negative ways. An increase in traffic due to world tourism growth can have adverse effects in terms of congestion, safety and security problems, pollution, etc. But transport is a key element in the tourism industry, facilitating and constraining the development of tourism. In other words, transport is the cause and the effect of the growth of tourism at the same time. There is a close connection between mobility and transport. Mobility is commonly defined as the quality of moving freely. At European level, the right of freedom of movement is ensured by the combined provisions of Articles 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR) and Article 3(3) TEU. According to a social approach, the right of movement must be ensured on Community territory within the framework of economic, social and territorial cohesion. Air transport has been transformed from a niche phenomenon to a mass phenomenon thanks to improved mobility, cheap prices of tourists packages and the low-cost airlines, as a result of the liberalization of this sector.


This chapter contributes to the overall tourist satisfaction to local economies using sustainable practices. The aim therefore is to analyse to what extent the characteristics of a product and service can bridge the gap between locals and visitors. This chapter is based on secondary data. We find evidence for six themes which are considered to be the most theoretical issue affecting the studies on street food in tourism considered in the analysis.

Results show that street food tourism, as a new paradigm, can be a viable option while thinking the process of sustainable tourism development in emerging destinations. Our findings have clear implications for the fast growing literature on overtourism and related perverse impacts (conceptual contribution) giving also additional options to Destination Marketing Organisations' (DMOs) managers in terms of strategy to combat tourismphobia analysed in the study. Proposals for future research will also be outlined.


The development of the tourism industry is closely linked to its sustainability. The need to reconcile economic growth and sustainable development is imperative and cannot be delayed.

Long-term sustainability requires a balance between three different dimensions: economic, socio-cultural and environmental sustainability. The competitiveness and sustainability of the tourism industry is, in turn, extensively dependent on the proper and efficient functioning of the transport system. There is no tourism without travel and transport or mobility. The tourism industry benefits when public transport is widely used by tourists.

The need of a well-functioning sustainable transport system rises in the maritime transport sector before the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment (1972) that for the first time has paid attention on the durable long-term preservation of the ecological balance, taking account of the interests of future generations. In fact, at international level, the Civil Liability Convention was adopted in 1969 to ensure an adequate compensation for oil pollution damage (including loss profit of the seaside tourism), resulting from maritime casualties involving oil carriers.

The European Commission works on a number of legislative initiatives in this area for a long time, before the Single European Act of 1986 recognised the European Community competence in the field of environment. In the same year, the ‘official’ definition of sustainable development was developed for the first time in the Brundtland Report in 1987. According to this definition, sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In spite of the quick evolution in this field, the Brundtland definition remains still valid, but it has been supplemented by an integration with the aim to make it less anthropocentric and more ecocentric. According to the Lisbon Treaty, in force today, one of the main objectives of EU is to operate and co-operate to ensure sustainable development in Europe, maintaining a high level of environment protection. This Treaty considers sustainable development, regarded as economic prosperity, security and social justice, an objective pursued both in Europe and in external relations with third States. It demands that environmental protection requirements are integrated into the definition and implementation of the community policies and activities, with a view to promoting sustainable development. Therefore, one of the fundamental objectives of the EU is to promote sustainable tourism development in Europe.


Generally, tourism is perceived as an economic-driving force that contributes to accelerate the processes of economic and social development. On the other hand it creates pressure and transforms the environment (both urban and natural), especially when the transformation is fast. Several studies analyze in depth the role of tourism in the development of the destinations. The effects are different and also depend on where the pressure manifests. In cities, in addition to the risk of overcoming the carrying capacity in social and environmental terms, tourism brings the loss of identity. This is even more true in proximity of economic shocks, where the sudden reduction in tourist flows and the need to contain costs for businesses are risks for the sustainability of the tourist destination. In this sense, the case of Sicily is emblematic. This Italian region in recent years has grown in international tourist flows, with a growing appreciation for its natural and cultural elements. The purpose of this chapter is therefore to describe the behaviour of the main urban tourism destinations in Sicily with respect to the economic shock that occurred in Italy in 2008, through a quantitative analysis that thus highlights the resilience of the cities to changes in the relative tourist flows.


Local development is becoming increasingly dependent on the tourism industry, especially in fragile contexts such as islands, where tourism makes it possible to overcome, at least in part, the obstacles linked to geo-morphological characteristics. The relevance of the sector for the economy is documented by the international literature and underscored in various studies (Balaguer & Cantavella-Jorda, 2002; Croes & Vanegas Sr, 2008; Dritsakis, 2004; Durbarry, 2004; Eugenio-Martin, Martin-Morales, & Sinclair, 2008; Eugenio-Martin, Morales, Scarpa, 2004; Hazari & Sgro, 1995; Maloney & Montes Rojas, 2005; Pigliaru & Lanza, 2000; Sequeira & Maçãs Nunes, 2008), which explain why tourism is attributed a leading role and even recognized as a driving force for the local economy. It is capable of creating new economic opportunities, especially, as mentioned, for island contexts, and even more so for those of modest size, which require special attention given the specific characteristics that distinguish them from the mainland. Islands are, indeed, a unique cluster despite belonging to individual states, and, being located in different regions of the world and featuring different stages of economic development and tourism, they are the beneficiaries of development policies focused on the economy of services and culture. This is essentially due to reasons linked to specific territorial features in terms of morphology and geographical location, primarily associated with the condition of isolation from the mainland. The result is a particular condition that characterizes them both materially, with effects on transport and logistics, and therefore on their economic and production autonomy, and ideally, i.e. in relation to the place that islands have in the collective imagination. They are associated with the desire to escape, to get in touch with nature, to slow down the pace and break patterns, and to attract a large number of visitors who, however, are concentrated mainly during the summer months. This leads to many difficulties and has several implications, in terms of pressure and quality, and requires careful management from very early on, from the stage of discovery of the destination by the first tourists, in order to guide development by limiting the drawbacks.

Cover of Tourism in the Mediterranean Sea
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