A Mediterranean network of villages of character in favour of sustainable tourism development
If towns constitute the foundation of Mediterranean civilisation, the villages which have remained apart from modern urban development make a strong contribution to the identity of Southern Europe's territories. By their unique form and their traditional architecture, many villages reflect the Mediterranean culture, a heritage of successive civilisations, where the land and the stones give voice to the history of men. Villages of character are an object of growing interest and are essential to the growing tourism industry of Mediterranean Europe, the first tourist destination in the world. The challenge facing many small municipalities in the Mediterranean area is to accompany a long-lasting tourism economy whilst also preserving the local identity. Faced with this challenge, the Ecole d'Avignon, the traditional partner of local authorities, has initiated the network VillageTerraneo, in the framework of the European programme for transnational cooperation, INTERREG IIIB "Western Mediterranean".
The objectives of the VillageTerraneo network
Along with the Ecole d'Avignon, 17 municipalities from Spain, France, Italy and Portugal have drawn up a strategy for creating conditions which are favourable to sustainable tourism development, the aims of which are the following:
- Preserve and promote the heritage and ensure the sustainable management of resources.
- Develop integrated tourism policies consistent with a process of economic, social and environmental durability.
- Associate local populations in the process of local development, particularly by the means of training.