The 2nd Meeting of the Thematic Cluster No3: “Towards sustainability in cultural and natural tourism destinations” was organized with a great success by the Region of Crete, as partner of INNOVAGRO project involved in this Thematic Cluster, in Chania at 2nd & 3rd of October 2020, in the framework of Adrion Programme Capitalization activities.

The event took place at the premises of Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania in a hybrid way (face to face and virtually as well) accompanied with an open Joint Stakeholders Meeting.

The main aim of the Thematic Cluster No3 established by the partnerships of the 7 Adrion Projects is to promote synergies among them and increase the transferability of their project results beyond the single project partnership in the field of the sustainable tourism. Also, the specific objectives of the Thematic Cluster are:

  • Creation of projects’ added value by increasing synergies among them,
  • Further development of thematic analysis through cross-fertilization among projects, as well as combination of results/outputs produced,
  • Identification of new areas/fields of intervention for the future programming period,
  • Increase the projects’ visibility, promoting them in a more strategic way,
  • Increase of transferability of project results beyond the single project partnership.

Moreover, the following activities are planned under this Thematic Cluster:

  • Organization and participation to at least 3 cluster meetings with the involvement of all projects of the respective cluster.
  • Participation to the ADRION Annual Event and/or ADRION capitalization events to present the outcomes of the capitalization activities and discuss on the potentials of the themes /topics covered.
  • Contribution to the update of the new ADRION web section on clusters.
  • Organization of at least 1 macro-regional event for the dissemination of TC outcomes and potentials; and/or at least Elaboration of a joint brochure and /or report on the outcomes of TC activities and its potentials1 joint stakeholders’ meeting addressing common interest.
  • Extension/widening the existing created networks.

During the 2nd Thematic Cluster Meeting a very fruitful and productive discussion was conducted regarding the above main aim and activities of this Thematic Cluster with the participation of over 20 representatives from the Adrion J/S and the following Adrion projects: INNOVAGRO, INNOXENIA, QNeST, ADRION 5 SENSES, SMART HERITAGE, APPRODI and THEMATIC, involved in this Cluster.

The event was accompanied with an open Joint Meeting with over 40 stakeholders who expressed their strong interest to be informed about the main aims and activities of the Thematic Cluster and involved in the scheduled capitalisation activities. The main findings of this meeting are:

  • Mediterranean Sea Basin should be transfer to a sea of cooperation between the involved countries. All the relevant stakeholders should be involved with the best way in the operation of Thematic Cluster.
  • A significant problem of this Thematic Cluster is that we are competitors in the Adriatic Ionian area in the tourism sector. The design of joint destinations with identity is proposed to be created in the Adrion area.
  • Innovation is an important factor to capitalise our projects in the market. The Thematic Cluster must identify the proper ways to promote innovation to stakeholders of the tourism market.
  • The development of a policy recommendation in interregional level is necessary to change the classic model tourism with a new sustainable form. Under this view Covid-19 is not only a threat but also an opportunity to promote sustainable tourism.

Finally, the 2nd day the members of the Cluster designed in more details the content of the Thematic Cluster’s main outputs based on the feedback received during the Joint Stakeholders Meeting. The main conclusions of this meeting are:

  • The main topic of the Thematic Cluster dealing with and also of the macro – regional event should be: The adaptation of the tourism model from the classical type to sustainable forms. A policy recommendation on this topic should be prepared and discussed during the macro – regional event. Project’s partners with the available human resources and proper specialization in this topic should be involved actively in the preparation of this policy recommendation.
  • To achieve policy change a bridge should be created for the next programme period 2021-27. The cluster should be alive and use resources of the next period playing the role of this bridge.