46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
Europe and Mediterranean areas have political and symbolic importance even if they have not definite limits. From a geographical point of view Europe and Mediterranean are the southern and western part of the "Eurasia", while politically speaking they represent two areas with a strong instability. However they have tourist resources that succeed in attracting the international tourism; these elements give originality and unicity to the territory of the Mediterranean area. This has an important role in the tourist field, also helped by lots of tourist activities and by the typical climate. All these aspects contribute to the creation of the "Mediterranean circular" of the coast countries. As they have not the same distribution of the tourist flows, the have the problem of unbalance in the relation between resources and utilization, especially in the north sea-side. Although these problems, tourism becomes for the mediterranean States a common activity, giving them a new economic dimension. The most important feature of the Mediterranean tourism is the diffused sea-side installation; it can cause a strong impact on the sea ecosystem and by the time it can generate a dangerous ecological situation of the mediterranean area. If we consider that 120.000.000 people live in this area with 200.000.000 tourists that during the summer period are in the sea-side countries, this means a considerable antropic presence. It is important that tourism and economic activities take into consideration the balance of the sea ecosystem because its protection is linked to the quality of sea-side people's life and to the continuation of the tourist importance of the area. The central problem of Mediterranean tourism is that the growth must be compatible with the environmental quality and with local way of life. In this way "the hotel-countries" and other ways of hospitality can contribute to give life to the countries and territories and to diversify and to enrich the tourist offer. Our work's aim is to analyse and verify social and economic impact of tourist flows in the mediterranean countries, considering general differences and effects.