The cultural wealth and great diversity of the Mediterranean are anything but the only reason tourists flock to the centre of the globe so often. Its endless choice of coastal areas make any of its islands a preferred destination for holidaymakers across and beyond mainland Europe, making coastal or maritime tourism an important branch of the region’s tourism sector.
For long, it was expected of Mediterranean islands to experience a drop in tourist arrivals. However, industry experts have noted a recent plateau in tourist arrivals in Mediterranean countries in winter. The Mediterranean climate has proven to be a powerful tool in sustaining its coastal tourism trends, providing for desired results on a European level.
Recent EU studies have also shown that Europe’s maritime tourism industry generates €183, thus representing over a third of the maritime economy. Around 51% of bed capacity in hotels across Europe and the Mediterranean also happened to be in areas with a sea border.
The true potential of maritime tourism was recognized as the European Union adopted its own Blue Growth strategy and identified this as an area with special potential to foster a sustainable tourism market. Maritime tourism in Europe and its regions is the biggest maritime sector in terms of gross added value and employment and is expected to experience at least a 3% by 2020.
The EU is currently implementing 14 actions which can help the sector grow, such as providing an online guide to funding opportunities for the sector to support trans-national relationships.