After the success of the first few projects on underwater cultural heritage (such as the UCRCA project, the NIRD project and the ATAS project), and in keeping with the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the European Union is now financing a series of new initiatives designed to give visitors an all-round experience and kindle the European tourism industry.
The Tuna Route celebrates the importance of the iconic Bluefin Tuna in the Western Mediterranean by bringing together science, conservation, culture, gastronomy and aquaculture. A service of charters will connect destinations and activities throughout the route and games will inform consumers on the full range of labelled products.
The Meltemi Route will create at least four sailing itineraries focused on water sports and nautical tourism in the North-East Aegean Sea. It will enable people to sail in the wake of the Meltemi wind and touch upon otherwise unreachable, totally unspoiled spots along the magnificent coasts of Greece and Turkey.
The WAOH Route aims to develop the first European sustainable diving route along 5000 km of Atlantic coastline, from the South of Portugal and Spain to the North of Ireland and the UK.
ChannelSail creates a nautical route from English Cornwall to French Cornouaille to rediscover, through historical and modern sailing activities, the Celtic heritage common to both these Channel regions.
From Greece to Magna Graecia brings sailing cruises between Greece and Italy and complements them with a rich offer of cultural and scientific experiences like exploring the seabed, learning about the gastronomic traditions across the Ionian Sea and trying sports such as kite-surfing, diving or fishing.
These projects are being financed through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund with total budget of about 1.5 million euro. They will promote off-season tourism and thus extend the opening times of businesses; they will attract travellers to new, lesser known areas, thus reducing pressures (environmental and social) at traditional destinations; and they will above all promote the shared values of the various European destinations and encourage a responsible and sustainable behaviour on the part of travellers – all core principles of the EU's Strategy for Coastal and Maritime Tourism.