Tourism ministers agreed here Thursday on the need to curb the burgeoning spread of tourist hotels and other facilities that might one day damage the environment of the Mediterranean coast.
A statement said they had "underlined the importance of preventing and reducing the negative impacts of urbanisation and non-sustainable land use for tourism infrastructure construction, especially at coastal areas."
The Mediterranean basin would become one of the regions most vulnerable to climatic change, said a unanimously adopted resolution by ministers from the European Union, and north African and eastern Mediterranean countries.
The ministers "underlined the need to enhance awareness among the stakeholders, and particularly the private sector, on the impact of climate change by promoting measures and actions aiming at developing sustainable tourism in the EuroMed region," said the statement following a meeting in Fes in Morocco.
Mohamed Moroccan Tourism Minister Mohamed Boussaid said Euro-Mediterranean tourism represented about a third of world tourism trade in terms of visitor numbers.
"A central condition of the growth of tourism is that preservation of the environment should be at the heart of tourist projects so that its potential can bring true benefits to partner countries in the long term," said Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice President of the European Investment Bank.
Joe Borg, a member of the European Union's Executive Commission in Brussels responsible for maritime affairs and fisheries, said the EU was promoting training, technical support, and restoration of cultural heritage in order to promote sustainable tourism around the Mediterranean.
Ministers of the 27 member states of the European Union, together with nine Arab countries, the Palestinian Territories, Turkey, Israel and Albania attended the first ever conference of this kind on Mediterranean tourist development.