Major Development Agency Thessaloniki S.A. (MDAT S.A.)
What is DESTI-SMART?
DESTI-SMART is a project addressing challenges for efficient sustainable tourism and at the same time promotion of low-carbon ecconomy through sustainable mobility and accessibility. Public regional/local and transport authorities increasingly face such challenges, particularly at busy destinations with high tourism travel flows.
The 9 project partners, representing mass tourism destinations in South Europe, emerging tourism destinations, coastal, maritime and insular ones, form an interregional working sceme promoting interregional cooperation for sustainable mobility, accessibility and low-carbon responsible travel, through capitalisation of best practices, improvement of regional/local policy instruments and preparation of action plans towards their emergence and recognition as 'Smart Destinations'. The partnership includes an advisory partner with specialisation in tourism mobility. The project is managed and coordinated by a Management and Coordination Unit of exeternal experts with substantial experience in management, sustainable tourism and transport planning.
Overall objective of DESTI-SMART
is to improve the transport and tourism policies of EU destinations, by integrating strategies for sustainable mobility, accessibility and responsible travel with efficient & sustainable tourism development, for transition to a low-carbon economy, through efficiency, resilience, multimodality, novel low-carbon transport systems, cycling & walking, with implementation innovations, policy learning and capacity building.
Promoting Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility with low-carbon transport in tourism destinations is a theme that has not been given the emphasis that it deserves, particularly in busy destinations with high tourist flows at peak seasons. This is particularly the case in coastal, maritime and insular destinations of South Europe, where peak summer demand is greater and transport systems are often inadequate. Transport planning is usually geared to the normal travel demand of residents and businesses, with the special needs of tourists frequently overlooked, underestimated or given inadequate attention. Visitors, usually foreign, are not very familiar with the destination transport networks and language, but have to use the available facilities for their mobility. There is a large scope for shifting travel demand to low-carbon transport solutions in tourism, with significant quality of life, socioeconomic, environmental and climate action benefits.
The increase in holiday travel, shortbreaks and day visits increases accessibility and mobility problems in destinations at different territorial levels (ie countries or regions, tourist districts or single resorts). There is a strong need for adequate policies at all levels. Instruments include passenger intermodality improvements, public transport, encouragement of environmentally friendly low-carbon tourism mobility, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) development and harmonization, Mobile Aplications, etc. Efficient transport policies have to consider the whole travel chain and be customer oriented, taking into account the needs of all tourists as well as residents.
In particular, the following pressing issues need to be addressed, through interregional cooperation with innovations towards a low-carbon economy in EU destinations:
A. Investments in and provision of low-carbon transport systems, with the needs of visitors explicitly taken into consideration, including internalisation and reduction of external costs of transport by mode shift to low-carbon travel solutions and E-Mobility.
B. Interchange between long-distance travel and local transport services, including Intermodality facilities for visitors, multimodal connectivity improvements that would shift travel demand to low-carbon transport.
C. Accessible tourism facilities for visitors with mobility difficulties (disabled, elderly, families with young children, etc).
D. Cycling & Walking for Tourists, Cycling routes provision, Shared bikes, CycloTourism, integration of cycling in tourism mobility strategies, promoting ‘Greenways’.
Europe 2020 growth strategy aims for the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. The project has clear and strong links, in terms of transport and tourism sustainability and it addresses four of the EU2020 objectives, on employment (policy instruments on Growth & Jobs), innovation (comprehensive novel tourism mobility solutions), social inclusion (through accessibility for all) and climate/energy (through low-carbon transport).
Interreg Europe Priority Axis 3, Investment priority 4(e) promotes low-carbon strategies including sustainable multimodal mobility, with mitigation and adapatation measures. This covers all types of territories and tourism destinations must not be left out.