The extraordinary cultural heritage in the Mediterranean Basin with its fascinating cities rich in history, art, culture and traditions, offers an interesting background for the growth of tourism. Despite the leading role played by this sector, the model of governance developed in the area to date has mostly been focused on coastal resources while important historical centres situated in the inner territories still lack valorization.
Strengthening and qualifying the potential of the involved areas and increasing their exploitation is the challenge that F.O.P project aims to address by means of a model focused on innovative tourism plans for cultural and environmental heritage. Some selected sites in Italy (Lazio, Basilicata, Campania), Egypt (Alexandria), Spain (Córdoba), Malta (La Valletta), Palestine (Bethlehem), Tunisia (Mahdia) and Lebanon (Byblos), will thus become part of a cross-border network of historical centres in order to mutually strengthen their visibility in the tourism sector. Through the enhancement of these centres, touristic diversification and deseasonalization, and the positioning on broader market segments, the concerned local economies will be boosted and further developed. In addition, a widespread hospitality* will also be implemented in Palestine and Egypt in order to stimulate tourism in specific locations with new itineraries including old towns which, despite their value, have never been fully exploited.
The historical centre of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, as custodias of a large part of the material and immaterial cultural heritage of this geographical region – certainly the largest and most diversified “basn” of cultural offer in the world – have potential four tourist attraction which is still largely unexpressed. Tourist development had indeed mainly affected coastal areas and even when has involved coastal cities,historic centres have rarely benefited from it. Moreover, quite often, the exogenous character of tourism investments has ment that not only dial local communities not benefit from the economic returns coming from tourism, but they suffered its negative consequences such as the expulsion from historic centres, the increase in cost of living and the loss of identity.