Valencia region, Spain

Sustainable tourism and cross-sectoral activities

Alternative Tourism

The Valencia region is located on the South-East Mediterranean coastline of Spain. It is a region of major economic importance in Spain with its touristic activity based on the "sun and beach" tourist product (the third most visited region in Spain). Urban and industrial development increases in place of the agricultural sector, affected by land loss and severe droughts. Coastal mass tourism characterizes Valencia’s touristic activity. However, the region offers practice examples of alternative forms of tourism.


A region example of how sustainable tourism can foster land-sea synergies by initiating new approaches to tourism activities via cross-sectoral activities, by capitalizing on the possibilities that new communication technologies offer to redirect the flow of tourism to less visited areas and create synergies between coastal and rural areas.


  • Lack of information/education
  • Public awareness & lifestyle (including food habits)
  • Seasonal population variability
  • Sustainable economic growth





  • Agro & eco-tourism
  • Improve communication & governance


The urban community of Valencia, an important commercial and cruise port with a high volume of tourism has to deal with a mass tourism phenomenon, concentred in a few hotspots in the city with a risk of overcrowding. Gandia, a municipality located on the South-East side of the Valencian province between the Mediterranean Sea, the mountains, and a wetland of high ecological value, faces a strong touristic seasonality characterized by a mono activity (beach and sun). Through the Alter Eco Interreg project, the region developed innovative approaches, using the new technologies to reach a sustainable tourism model. In Valencia, in order to avoid overcrowding the hot spots, the strategy consisted of the design of alternative tourism routes to redirect the flow of tourists to non-touristic neighbourhoods with important material and immaterial cultural heritage. Each route, is accessible online and supported by an online APP with a gamification concept, which is presented by a characteristic person of the neighbourhood who tells different options to be visited depending on the profile, preferences,etc.

A monitoring system has been installed in this new area to quantify the flow of tourists in order to adapt the strategy. In Gandia municipality, to develop tourism activities off-season and outside of the beach area, an APP which uses the same concept of gamification as the one Valencia designed, in order to give information to the tourists about other points of interest in the area (in the case of Gandia, the information given were mainly about the city centre of the municipality). At the same time, free wifi was offered at the beach to allow access to this information. Additionally, another web APP was designed for the tourism business sector in order to improve the quality of the accommodation offered during the whole year and help tourist accommodation owners or managers to better adapt their properties to winter conditions and improve the acoustic comfort, accessibility and sustainability.

The Alter Eco project also offers a list of methods and tools used around the world to monitor and manage tourism flow and reach a sustainable tourism model. The real impact of these innovative approaches will be seen in the future but they already give good examples of how emerging technologies in communication could contribute to land-sea synergies and coastal-rural collaboration via the development of tourism activities in the rural hinterland in combination with coastal areas.





  • Agro & eco-tourism
  • Fisheries & aquaculture


Inspired by the success of the “pescatourism” initiative in Italy, replicate in other parts of Europe, Valencia took part in the TourisMed Interreg project in order to develop new activities combining tourism and fishery. The main goal of the practice is to diversify the touristic offers, raise awareness regarding local fishery products and the natural marine environment as well as offer an additional source of income for fishermen. The Valencia region, in collaboration with local partners, developed an itinerary guide, inviting Individuals on a journey on a traditional fishing boat where they will experience the traditional fishing technics, discover the natural marine protected area, observe birds and learn about local fish species. Additionally, visitors will enjoy an authentic seafood lunch with fresh local products (cf. ‘Itinerary plan Valencia).

Moreover, the TourisMed project created a specific brand for the promotion of sustainable fishing tourism and products in the Med area on the basis of quality and sustainability (Q&S) practices, to be used for marketing purposes to achieve the recognition of consumers. An online platform has been launched to promote the fishing tourism sites.