MED PEARLS – The Mediterranean as an innovative, integral and unique destination for Slow Tourism initiatives

The Municipality of Thessaloniki and the Department of Tourism in collaboration with MDAT SA- Major Development Agency of Thessaloniki (of which it is a shareholder) within the framework of the European project MED PEARLS, had assigned the financial management of the project to this company.

The MED PEARLS project was a cross-border project funded by the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), aimed at establishing the international position of the Mediterranean as an important quality destination for Slow Tourism, by accelerating innovative initiatives created by public and private collaboration. Slow Tourism invited visitors to experience the destination at a reduced pace, and to discover new, unknown and special destinations. Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine participated in the project, through the partnership of eight (8) bodies.

The project therefore sought cooperation between partners from different Mediterranean countries, the design of new tourist products, which contributed to the extension of the tourist season, innovation, diversification and sustainability of tourism. A network of homologous experiences has been developed across the Mediterranean region, allowing visitors to live similar experiences, of the same quality, in any of the 13 regions where the Med Pearls program was developed.

Specifically, the pilot project:

  • target lesser-known tourist zones,
  • aimed at decongesting urban and peri-urban areas,
  • introduced elements of innovation both in the product structure and in its commercialization and sustainability (e.g. water management technologies, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, etc.);
  • used participatory processes to engage local communities, with a particular focus on local residents;
  • promoted and exploited the local cultural and natural heritage,
  • introduced the transnational concept of tourism products, as a result of cooperation between companies and entrepreneurs from different countries,
  • promoted transnational tourism products, including cross-border products;
  • used business accelerator methodologies to support companies participating in the pilot program (connecting travel companies with local tourism businesses).

The project created a Support Unit per partner, to advise, coordinate and guide companies in the process of creating Tourism Product Plans. The financial incentives were also allocated to those groups of companies that cooperated and met all the criteria defined by the pilot program for the delivery of the new products, in accordance with the provisions of the ENI CBC MED.

During the implementation of the program, a network of new Slow Tourism products was created. City agencies were supported (financially and technically) to create their own Slow Tourism products and local businesses to develop solutions at the level of applications, virtual reality, etc., as adapted to the tourism of the 21st century.

MDAT SA managed the finances of the that programme, and specifically was asked to deliver and delivered as such the 2nd interim financial report (for the accounting period 01/09/2020 31/05/2022) and the 3rd interim financial report (for the accounting period 01/06/2022-30/11/2022), and as well as the final financial report of the project (for the accounting period 01/12/2022 – 31/05/2023).


16/05/2023: The Municipality of Thessaloniki hosted the last committee meeting of the European Med Pearls Project. The Department of Tourism collaborated with five Mediterranean countries to create a network of 26 “soft tourism” (SLOW TOURISM) products based on sustainable mobility, local cuisine and accommodation in eco-labelled accommodation. A new page was opened in the tourism development of Thessaloniki in collaboration with the areas of Imathia and Pieria. MDAT SA also participated in the meeting as the financial manager of the project.

06/07/2020: The participation of MDAT SA in the conference for Slow Tourism products, located in Pieria. It was a constructive meeting despite the restrictions on public gatherings due to the Covid -19 pandemic.

20/02/2020: Med Pearls Awareness Raising Event hosted at Thessaloniki’s City Hall


Project Title: The Mediterranean as an innovative, integral and unique destination for Slow Tourism initiatives – Med Pearls

Funding: European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) initiative, European Tool Neighborhood – Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) of the Mediterranean Sea Basin

Lead Partner: Catalan Tourism Development Office, Barcelona, Spain


  1. Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations, Alexandria, Egypt
  2. Municipality of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
  3. Discovery Travel & Tourism LLC, Amman, Jordan
  4. APS Mediterranean Pearls, Catania, Italy
  5. Palestinian Information and Communications Technology Incubator, Ramallah, Palestine
  6. Palestine Wildlife Society, Palestine
  7. Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, Alexandria, Egypt

Budget: The total project budget amounted to 3,015,132.67 euros. The total contribution of the ENI CBC MED Program amounted to 2,713,619.40 Euros. For the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the budget was 319,820.00 Euros.

For more information you can visit:
Website: www.enicbcmed.eu/projects/med-pearls
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MedPearlsProject
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MedPearlsProj