with marta.pascual.westmed.spain

WestMED Initiative receives internationalization award at the Sun and Blue Congress 2023

This year marked the first edition of the Sun&Blue Congress; an international conference and exhibition focused on Blue Tourism Innovation. It took place in Almería, Spain from 15-17 November 2023.

Marta Pascual (WestMED National Hub Spain) has been very much involved in both the preparation of this event, as part of the Technical Committee, as well well as its execution. She organised and participated in multiple workshops to promote and facilitate the sustainable Blue Economy within the tourism sector.

The WestMED Iniatiative was given a special Award Mention for having helped on the Internationalization of the entire SUN&BLUE Congress. Also the ‘Maritime Tourism’project, supported by the WestMED Initiative was awarded with a special mention award for Sustainability

This conference provided an excellent platform to promote the WestMED Intiative within the tourism sector resulting in numerous requests for support. It also resulted in  a major step forward regarding the creation of a National Marine Tourism Network and led to a  first encounter with the city of CEUTA authorities as a basis for possible follow-up.

Here is an overview of the different WestMED  Sun&Blue events:

Turismo Marinero (16 November 2023)
Within the framework of WestMED, and more specifically from its Spanish National Hub, work is done to establish a National Maritime Tourism Network. Its main objective is to promote sustainable maritime tourism and the diversification of fishing activity towards other activities that promote the economic development of coastal and marine areas when, for various reasons, they cannot carry out their fishing activity.

This network seeks to diversify fishing activities to promote authentic and environmentally friendly experiences. By doing so, it is intended to contribute to local economic development, the conservation of marine ecosystems and the promotion of fishing culture and tradition in the Western Mediterranean region. Hand in hand with this important initiative of the European Commission, we will learn about the importance of maritime tourism and all the development it is having at the European and national level.

This session served to present 3 examples of Spanish companies and/or initiatives around Maritime Tourism with Pablo Mariño (Bluscus); Shonia Cruz (La Mar Consultoras-LMC) and Inmaculada Torres (GALPEMUR). This to understand what they offer and what opportunities and barriers they have encountered when developing their activities.

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WestMED Initiative presentation
This presentation kicked off with explaining to a large audience what the WestMED Initiative is, what the work areas are and the activities carried out so far. Also opportunities for collaboration and financing for blue economy were elaborated on.

After the presentation a number of participants approached Mrs. Pascual to inquire about support for their project ideas. The most concrete ones are currently being followed through to assess needs and possibilities.

Blue Breakfast session (17 November 2023)
This was an invitation only event attended by public and private organisations. After explaining the Initiative and  funding opportunities, Mrs Pascual provided direct guidance on where to find funding for their work and future interests. It also led to some project ideas that are currently being reviewed for further support by the National Hub.

Reunión / Workshop: Presentación Proyecto de “Red Nacional de Turismo Marinero” (17 November 2023)
This private meeting/workshop brought together the main fishing political agents (MAPA), national fishing agents, local Fishing Action Groups (FLAGs), fishermen’s federations, fishermen’s guilds, fresh fish producer organizations, companies of marine tourism and foundations related to marine tourism. At the meeting, the idea/project of creating a National Marine Tourism Network, its vision, objectives, values, lines of action, activities, and governance proposals for said network were presented.

The meeting served as a starting point for the creation of this network and its subsequent presentation within the framework of the European WestMED Initiative as a good example and practice to potentially be replicated in other countries of the Western Mediterranean.

There will be a follow-up to create and launch of the Red Nacional Turismo Marinero in Spain, through bi-lateral discussions on each of the axes proposed for the network.

The meeting was exclusive for those in the field of marine tourism and required registration.

Exhibition stand
For the duration of the event, the WestMED exhibition stand drew many visitors to pick up a leaflet, watch the project video and inquire about possibilities.

Sun&Blue 2024
Next year’s event is already planned: 20-22 November 2024. Visit the Sun&Blue event website

Press coverage
This event has received a lot of press coverage like these articles in the national newspaper El Mundo and  La Voz de Almería.
Or this video on the opening from Ayuntamiento de Almería:

WestMED stand at Sun and Blue Congress 2023 with Marta Pascual talking to a visitor

Marta Pascual at the Sun and Blue Conference 2023 on stage

Turismo Marinero workshop by Marta Pascual with panbel on stage during SunandBlue 2023