“Women on Ιslands, Motors of Sustainable Tourism”

“Women on islands, Motors of Sustainable Tourism”

Fotoessa partners in innovative program sponsored by the ALF

Fotoessa PC is proudly participating in the transnational Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) program “Women on islands, Motors of Sustainable Tourism”. The project is aiming to help women entrepreneurs and organisations in four small islands, strategically selected (in Croatia, UK, Greece and Tunisia), to diversify the tourism offer and reduce dependence on mass and seasonal tourism, which endangers the local cultural heritage, biodiversity and the economic resilience of the islands. The program aspires to promote the role of women as drivers of more sustainable development on an island scale, by supporting local women to create innovative tourist activities, experiences and products.

The project leader, SMILO (Small Islands Organisation) NGO, supports small islands of less than 150km² towards the sustainable management of their territory and resources. The international associated expert on the stakeholders training, The Travel Foundation, has significant training expertise with regards to the challenges of sustainable tourism and the diversification of the tourism offer. It has also done major research work on “The invisible burden of tourism”, which explores the impacts of tourism on the themes of water, waste, energy, biodiversity and culture.

Thanks to the transnational networking, the stakeholders involved will also be able to share and improve their knowledge and good practices in sustainable tourism and the promotion of island heritage.

The “Women on islands, Motors of Sustainable Tourism” project’s duration is from October 1st, 2020 to 1st of July, 2021.


Although islands account for only 5% of the earth’s surface, they host 20% of terrestrial plants and vertebrates and 600 million people depend on island ecosystem services for their sustainable development. However, they are also particularly vulnerable: several threats, stemming from global changes endanger their natural, cultural, economic and social heritage, such as pollution, invasive species, exacerbated by poor connectivity with neighbouring ecosystems, climate change, and the destruction of habitats and landscapes. If these issues of resources’ sustainable management are not specific to islands, they are particularly exacerbated in these territories. The isolation, the scarcity of resources, the limited space, the lack of locally available technologies, in other words the “island character”, reduce a priori the range of solutions to preserve these territories. At the same time, this insular characteristic is a strength point. Small islands are laboratories for sustainable development and innovative, environmental, social, legal and technical solutions. Islands, thus, share similar challenges and common solutions.

Specific objectives

The “Women on islands, Motors of Sustainable Tourism” project aims to meet three specific objectives in particular:

  1. Reflecting the cultural richness  of  the  societies  involved,  with  a  highlight  on  minority groups  and marginalized spaces: islands are exceptional territories, which are however often confronted with a certain isolation, which limits their capacity to implement concrete sustainable measures adapted to their constraints (lack of resources, little access to information on good practices, scarcity of exchanges between peers, etc.). Networking between island stakeholders is therefore essential to foster the leading role that these spaces can play for the ecological transition on a global level. By associating small island territories in the North of Europe, the Adriatic, the Cyclades and the South of the Mediterranean, the project aims to reflect the cultural richness of these marginalised spaces.
  2. Facilitating access to and sharing of intercultural resources and experiences as well as the transfer of know-how and competencies across the Euro-Mediterranean region through civil society multipliers. The areas targeted are the promotion of island heritage, and the promotion of the leading role of women involved in the promotion of the natural and cultural heritage of their island.
  3. Engaging large and diverse audiences in the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, thanks to the identification of alternative and diversified tourism products and experiences, as well as the dissemination of the project results in the SMILO network. All the project partners are members of the SMILO network, which brings together more than 800 contacts across more than 65 countries internationally, including islands, technical specialists, financial, academic partners, etc. This network will contribute to widely disseminate the project results, and thus reach a large and diversified public to promote cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.

Detailed project objectives

The project aims to:

  • Identify and provide greater knowledge about the cultural and natural resources of project’s islands, which are still unexploited. This identification will help strengthening or creating new sustainable tourist experiences and products. The current health crisis in fact even more highlighted the need to diversify the tourist offer, with visitors from different audiences. The diversification of tourist activities thus contributes to making the territory and local economy more resilient.
  • Contribute to fostering of a more resilient tourism on islands, thanks to the creation of innovative tourist activities, experiences and products, for example:
    • promoting an island’s traditional craft activity, visiting the island through alternative pathways (to discover medicinal plants, observe endemic species, discover the inhabitants’ professions, etc.),
    • conducting alternative sports activities in an island’s more unknown places,
    • setting up local trainings, for example for alternative guided tours etc.

These new products will help spreading the tourists’ presence on the islands during the year, and attract different audiences:

  • Tourists looking for a different experience from the mass tourism, with an opportunity to be in contact with the locals and local specificities
  • Schools and universities, at the national level and from abroad: to better understand the history and culture of the islands
  • Locals and nationals: if the tourist offer is diversified, it could foster a renewed interest for local and national tourism.
  • Highlight the leading role of women in the promotion of island’s heritage. The majority of the partners in this project are women, who are actively involved in the sustainable development of islands. In addition, local organisations managed by women will receive small grants to set up a diversified tourist offer, in consultation with local stakeholders.


Islands and partners

Lastovo (Croatia): Maja Resic, Nature Park Lastovo Islands

Brownsea (UK): Angela Cott, National Trust Brownsea

Paros (Greece): Stefanos Vallianatos, Fotoessa PC

Kerkennah (Tunisia): Bochra Nabli, Town Council of Kerkennah


Project duration: October 1, 2020 – 1 July, 2021

SMILO – Small Islands Organisation   A cooperation program to support small islands towards sustainable management