Nautical tourism and blue economy between present and future

YiS Team: Veronica Pileri

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Nautical tourism and blue economy between present and future

Nautical tourism is undoubtedly one of the liveliest economic sectors of our country and, in general, of countries with maritime ports, a multifaceted type of tourism that gathers both luxury tourism and niche tourism, including cruises, charters and sailing boats.
In particular, for the countries bordering the Mediterranean, nautical tourism is a fundamental sector for their economy: let’s think of Montecarlo, not only home to one of the oldest casinos in the world, but also one of the most popular destinations for lovers of nautical, we think of the Cinque Terre, we think of regions like Sardinia, we think, again, of Greece.

Italy, on the other hand, with its over 7,000 kilometers of coastline, its wonderful inlets, its enchanting landings and all the activities related to the sea, cannot fail to be affected by the evolution of the sector.

The foreseeable crisis of the last year, which has affected the entire tourism sector without distinction, has not entirely affected the prospects for the future. In this regard, the renewed environmental sensitivity leads to think of a natural union between nautical tourism and the so-called blue economy.

The blue economy is a vision born about ten years ago thanks to the Belgian economist Gunter Pauli, author of the book Blue economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 1000 jobs. The blue economy represents a sort of evolution of the green economy (among other things not yet fully established): if the green economy is “limited”, so to speak, to proposing a (substantial) reduction in polluting emissions, the blue economy goes further, asking for the elimination of polluting processes through biomimicry.

In essence, biomimicry studies the biological processes of flora and fauna to find sustainable solutions to be applied to human technology. Looking at things from the Belgian economist’s perspectives, applying and studying the biomechanical functioning of nature to technology can not only give an economic boost to human activity, but also reduce to eliminate its impact on the environment.

In this sense, the sea can make its contribution, for example by encouraging the maritime transport of goods rather than by road, perhaps in combination with the so-called intermodal transport which helps to reduce waste and environmental impact.
And nautical tourism? This sector too can and must marry with the vision of the blue economy, also and above all considering the turnover of the sector in Italy, which at the end of 2019 had exceeded 5 billion euros. The economy of the sea, including pleasure boats, cruises and other similar activities, can represent one of the players in the Italian (and European) economy, exploiting, for example, the many protected areas of the mare nostrum, possible recipients of intelligent tourism. and environmentally friendly. The ever-growing interest in environmental issues and related initiatives, such as World Oceans Day, can help raise awareness among people.

Sustainable boating, the only possible way for the future, sees coasts and the sea as resources to be exploited, like the economic activities related to them, and promotes sustainable approaches and technologies, from the use of materials for the construction of boats to the engines. Because speaking of nautical tourism, we cannot fail to take into consideration the impact that tourism, especially mass tourism, has on the territory, starting from the production of waste to the excess of motor boats sailing in the waters of the Mediterranean.

Therefore, the prospects are linked to the growth of sustainable and naturalistic tourism which, although not able to reach the numbers of mass tourism, must play an ever greater role, even in the nautical sector. To reach the goal, it is necessary both to “educate” the tourist to choose sustainable solutions, and the sector activities to marry the concepts of blue and green economy and make proposals for intelligent tourism, respectful of the environment and, at the same time, in able to satisfy the tourist’s needs for relaxation, entertainment and knowledge.

In short, there are prospects for the future, just look in the right direction. Meanwhile, the Venice Boat Show, stopped last year, in this year’s edition recorded really interesting numbers, with 160 exhibitors and 220 boats. Ultimately, nautical tourism and the blue economy can accompany the sector towards a bright future in the name of sustainability.

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