How to mitigate the impact of cruise tourism?

LOCATIONS unveils its solutions in Málaga. The results of the three-year Interreg MED LOCATIONS project were presented: dedicated plans, technical measures and educational webinars to improve the mobility of cruise destinations and limit environmental impacts.

The results of the three-year Interreg MED LOCATIONS project were presented in Málaga: plans, technical measures and educational webinars to improve the mobility of cruise destinations and limit environmental impacts.

Over the past ten years, cruise tourism has taken off, going from 17.8 million passengers in 2009 to an estimated 30 million tourists around the globe this year. Cruisers usually set off in pursuit of an experience made of knowledge, culture, wellbeing, with a marked preference for family holidays.

Mediterranean ports can now enjoy the economic benefits of this trend, but they have also started to feel the pressure of this global movement. If not well-managed, it runs the risk of affecting the environment, mobility and cultural heritage of cruise destinations, with a significant impact on local communities as well.

On 19th September in Málaga, Spain an event was held to present the results of the Interreg MED LOCATIONS project funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which has worked on the subject for three years, looking for solutions that are easily repeatable across all the Mediterranean ports.

To understand the impacts on urban mobility generated by the arrival, transit and departure of cruise ships, the seven cities participating in LOCATIONS – Trieste, Ravenna, Lisbon, Málaga, Durres, Rijeka and Zadar – have developed specific mobility measures designed for passengers and ship crews alike, to be integrated in their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).

Final goal: mitigating such impacts on traffic and environment.


The work carried out by the officials of the municipalities and port authorities as well as the experts from the seven cities was underpinned by the idea that improving the mobility of tourists implies improving the mobility of citizens as well, at the same time producing an improvement in the reputation of a city, without affecting its authenticity and liveability, which are assets the Mediterranean cities are well-known for.

LOCATIONS will leave behind a legacy which includes other solutions as well:

  • 7 Low Carbon Transport Plans
  • the involvement of further 11 Mediterranean ports, the so-called “replicators”: Igoumenitsa and Thessaloniki (Greece), Koper (Slovenia), Limassol (Cyprus), Sète (France), Valletta (Malta), Cádiz (Spain), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Leghorn (Italy), Portimão (Portugal) and Sarande (Albania), which have already been developing their own tourist mobility plans;
  • a series of technical educational webinars;
  • a package of 14 measures (electric mobility, shared mobility, green excursions, bike-sharing…) which can be downloaded from the web, from which new cities can draw inspiration.
  • In addition, an open network of institutions and subjects from all these cities shall soon be established to keep attention high on this themeWith the awareness that every effort made to reduce polluting emissions will allow the Mediterranean to preserve its value and authenticity over the years.