Mediterranean states agree to further tourism cooperation at UNWTO conference

PR No.: PR 12021

Mediterranean states meeting at a UNWTO Conference on The Future of Mediterranean Tourism have agreed to boost cooperation to maintain the region’s position as the world’s leading tourism destination (Djerba, Tunisia, 16-17 April 2012).  

The agreed action came at the end of two days of high-level talks between participants from 33 countries in the Mediterranean and beyond on the future of tourism to the region in light of recent political developments, economic uncertainty and the ongoing challenge of climate change.

Opening the conference, Tunisian Prime Minister, Hamadi Jebali, stressed the economic and social importance of tourism, a sector which can help guarantee “the stability of democracies and individual freedom,” he said. Tunisia, a country occupying a “strategic position in the Mediterranean” aspired to play a leading role in Mediterranean tourism, continued the Prime Minister.  

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, pointed to Tunisia as the ideal setting for the conference, given the importance of tourism to its national economy and in light of the steady recovery of tourist arrivals, “excellent news for both the economy and the strengthening of the political processes underway in the country,” he said.  

Participants at the conference, including the Ministers of Tourism of Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey, agreed to work together to stay ahead of emerging tourism trends, especially given growing competition from other world regions and ever-changing consumer patterns.

“Many of the challenges facing Mediterranean destinations can be addressed more effectively through coordinated efforts in areas such as research, product development, access, travel facilitation, promotion and technology,” Mr. Rifai, told delegates.

The Djerba Declaration, issued by participants on the occasion of the Conference, called for further cooperation to expand the Mediterranean’s tourism market share and maximize tourism’s capacity to “generate income, create jobs, reduce poverty and contribute to peace around the Mediterranean.”

The Mediterranean received a record 306 million international tourist arrivals in 2011, nearly one-third of total arrivals worldwide (980 million). Considered as a single area, the Mediterranean is by far the largest tourism destination in the world. The sector is a major pillar of Mediterranean economies, generating 12% of its total exports (US$ 263 billion/€ 189 billion), offering much-needed employment and opportunities for development in the region. 


Useful links:

Djerba Declaration

The Future of Mediterranean Tourism




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