Capacity building seminar: Skilled territories - A new paradigm for tourism and local development in the Mediterranean region (Trento, Italy) - 2nd Edition


A capacity building seminar
3 - 7 December 2011, Trento, Italy



>> The OECD LEED Trento Centre



>> The Training Centre for International Cooperation

in partnership with
 and Trentino School of Management


"The new tourism should improve and promote even what is not recognised to be part of its chain"


 Background / Theme / Seminar / Participants' Profile / Agenda / Contact



While its economic importance varies widely in many of the OECD member and non member countries, it is clear that tourism plays a crucial role in supporting economic growth and social development, in sustaining employment and in generating foreign currency receipts. In the OECD area, for example, the employment growth rate in the hotel and restaurant industry exceeded 2% per year between 2000 and 2007, more than a percentage point ahead of the total employment growth rate.

International tourism has been growing at a slightly faster pace than the world economy and this seems likely to continue in the long-term, despite the current recession. But it is important to closely monitor these trends and to seek to continuously enhance both the level, and the quality, of performance in the sector.

The sector must be supported through specific and integrated policies, alongside effective governance, and the direct involvement of the local communities. This involvement will, in turn, contribute to an improvement in their socio-economic conditions. Indeed, given the importance of the tourism sector, it needs to be sustained and its competitiveness supported in the face of an even more articulated tourist “demand”. This includes considering areas that have not traditionally been considered to be part of the tourist supply chain.

Integrated regional systems are still evolving and tourism confronts many challenges in its need to adapt: international dialogue could thus be important for upgrading and innovation.



Tourists have changed: their decision-making process is no more based on the assumption “places to go and things to see”. Nowadays, both short-breaks and longer holidays have to be able to meet new customers’ specific needs.

These new heterogeneous expectations are in general satisfied by tourism macro-trends such as relax, wellness and sport vacations, cultural or food-&-wine tours, but they might require more specific experiences involving local uniqueness (histories, events, important personalities, institutions, etc…), to be satisfied. This means that local tourism systems’ ability in attracting visitors might also depend on a clear and effective external communication of local development strategies and policies, which become an important added value implying, at the same time, local communities are aware of them. On the other hand, this produces an enhanced competitiveness through communicative channels improved by local culture and governance.

To accomplish this mission and improve perception of a territory strategically investing in its future, tourists have to be directly involved in the territorial economic and social innovation systems: alternative mobility projects, info-telematic highways, edutainment (education and entertainment) within museums and research centres, local family policies example of national best practices. Improving a territorial brand starts from the quality of life offered to local communities, passes through relevant and surrounded experiences provided to tourists and aims to attract intelligences, energies and investments thanks to the uniqueness the system is able to show.
What is called “the new tourism” should improve and promote even what is not recognised to be part of its chain.

Tourism policy developments pass through the following themes:

 a. Liveability and landscape

 b. Global events and local environment

 c. Skills and entrepreneurship

Governance is the background of this environment: decision-making and strategy-development processes are crucial to improve a common vision and set shared objectives to be achieved by territorial stakeholders and, on the other hand, to position and support the local tourism offer through effective communication strategies, identifying its potential market.



The 5-day programme was structured around a mix of presentations by invited experts and OECD staff, followed by discussion and group work using case studies and concrete experiences developed by participants prior to the seminar.

The workshop was conceived as a system aimed at establishing a common knowledge and experience exchange platform among the participants. New and fresh knowledge was generated through such exchanges and due to the combination of the experience and knowledge all the participants (speakers, case study presentations, attendees, etc.) brought.

The seminar aimed to build and share the knowledge and know-how of participants on:


How local territorial assets and communities are a driver for sustainable tourism.


What integrated policies and effective governance structures are needed for pursuing long term local development based on tourism.


How to consider well preserved local culture, quality of life and landscapes as key factor for tourism development. 


How to build skills and to foster entrepreneurial climate for tourism development.


Participants' Profile

The OECD/TCIC capacity building seminar was addressed to participants committed to the topic and willing to share their experiences and to learn from each other in order to build a highly interactive environment. Participants were national, regional and local policy-makers and practitioners, tourism agents, representatives of the private sector, representatives from social economy organisations actively involved in tourism-related activities, business associations, and higher education institutions in the Mediterranean region.

Working language: English.



 Download the draft agenda



For further information, please contact Alessandra Proto at the OECD Secretariat or Silvia Destro at the Training Centre for International Cooperation.