a project co-funded by the EU promoting Sustainable and Responsible Tourism in Mediterranean countries involving Italy, Lebanon, Spain and Tunisia
development models in the Mediterranean History
In the different historical periods, the inter-action between the trade, migration and influences network in the Mediterranean Sea and the general model of the Mediterranean relations changed from time to time, with some “mono-centric” periods (especially the Roman and Byzantine ones in the ancient times and the colonial ones in the modern times) and some really “networking” periods (especially for the Greek, Syrian-Palestinian, Carthage, Islamic and Italian Sea Republics realities).
The “mono-centric” network supposes that all the hubs of the network are influenced by the centre (at political, economic, cultural, life-style, arts level) and that their development has a sense only as an instrument for the centre interests. The really “networking” model, on the contrary, supposes that the hegemony of the centre is based on different grades of autonomy (at political, economic, cultural, life-style, arts level) of the several hubs in the network. Both those models have left important traces in monuments, cultural traditions, handicrafts, religious dimensions and symbols, etc. that belongs today to the tourist attraction in the Mediterranean Basin. But, today, only the re-elaboration of the really networking model is a possible positive perspective for a Mediterranean development including that of a Sustainable Tourism. In fact, the really networking model has been in any historical age of the Mediterranean Sea the best way to improve material and immaterial inter-changes, mixing of cultural elements, economic and technical progress without too much misbalances, and an adequate connection to other networking systems of Asia and Africa. This aspect it’s more important today, in the globalization and Internet age, with the new globalized tourism phenomena and the economical crisis in Europe, to avoid savage competitions in the tourist marketing and to offer the Mediterranean network as the main Mediterranean tourist attraction.
The same existence, during the history, of the above-mentioned two models and their material and immaterial consequences in the Sustainable Tourism experiences can be underlined for tourists, trough museums (especially in the form of eco-museums in the territory), inter-active equipments, organized tours, publications, festivals, TV programs, etc.. This underlining has different positive tourist consequences within the framework of a Sustainable Tourism logic:
- it contributes to promote the relation between the best historical traditions of the Mediterranean area and the use of a networking approach today and to show with important historical examples the negative consequences of the not-networking logic;
- it contribute to increase the correct understanding by the tourist of the real meaning of historical sites, events, museums, traditions, monuments, without transforming the “memory tourism” into a mix of “horror& crime tourism”