Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Sustainable tourism and local development in Apulia region (Italy)


A review: November 2009 - July 2010


Introduction / Analytical framework / Method and outputs



Being competitive at international level is an important concern for the travel and tourism industry which operates on a global market place. The improvement of competitiveness in tourism relies on a complex mix of internal and external factors. Many OECD countries and localities face myriad challenges and opportunities to transform their natural, historical, and cultural assets into thriving, sustainable tourism destinations, which could help support local economic growth.

In this context the OECD LEED Trento Centre, in cooperation with the , has agreed with the Government of Apulia Region a project to assist Apulia to foster local economic and entrepreneurship development through the orientation of tourism policies and strategies that facilitate innovation and structural changes of its tourism industry.

The general aim of this activity is to integrate and strengthen the tourism industry, generating new employment opportunities, expanding micro and small businesses, and growing local economies. 


Analytical framework

The study of Apulia aims to review policies and assets of the Region, so to provide recommendations and guidance to:


Implement new sustainable tourism development strategies aimed at increasing Apulia destination’s competitiveness and the “seasonal adjustment” of the local tourism industry, based on the valorisation of cultural, historical and natural regional assets, as a priority axes for the attractiveness of the territory.


Strengthen the value of Apulia destination’s sites proposition through the quality and the variety of tourism facilities.


Foster skills and capacities at local level to develop sustainable tourism and local development in an integrated way.


Within this scope, the review develops around the following three main axes of work:

Axes 1

Strategies and programmes. This part of analysis focuses on current regional strategies, programmes and policies related to tourism development. Special attention is given to a) their  consistency in relation to the (touristic, natural, cultural) assets of the region and to the needs of local entrepreneurs in the sector; b) the coordination/integration of policies to sustain tourism with other policies related to local development, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, employment; and c) the process of destination branding.

Axes 2

Training, skills and human capital. This part of analysis focuses on Apulia training and education policies and needs in the tourism sector. This includes an analysis of both the demand and supply side in the region (i.e. skills need, effectiveness and efficiency of training and education institutions, etc.).

Axes 3

Specific policy intervention. This part of analysis focuses on possible strategic policy intervention related to four key areas for tourism development in the region: a) low-costs flights connections; b) touristic ports and harbours; c) cultural event-based tourism; and d) typical form of accommodations.


Project method and expected outputs

The project is carried out, through the well established OECD LEED review methodology by an international panel composed of the OECD Secretariat and international senior experts in tourism and local development policies. The review panel: (i) undertakes diagnostic work and visits in the region; (ii) conducts interviews with relevant regional and local institutions and organisations; (iii) identifies strengths and weaknesses through comparison with international good practice; and (iv) develops policy recommendations and proposes models to underpin the recommendations.


Expected outputs are:

a report prepared by the OECD Secretariat outlining policy analysis and recommendations supported by international good practices; and

- a capacity building seminar to discuss and disseminate the results of the review.


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