The tourism is a very dynamic sector in the Mediterranean region, generating economic growth, income and employment. In the context of sustainable development, this sector also becomes a priority concern for the Mediterranean strategy for sustainable development under the Mediterranean Action Plan. In 2007, the Mediterranean Basin was visited by 275 millions international tourists, i.e. about 30% of the world total tourists. The Blue Plan estimates that the number could reach 637 million tourists in 2025, including 312 millions in coastal areas only.
Most stakeholders involved in Mediterranean wetlands still consider that in wetlands areas where socio-economic development takes place, tourism, if well managed and environmentally sensitive, may be one of the preferred development options in wetlands area because less destructive compared to urbanization, agriculture, industry and public infrastructure development options (cf. Study, MWO, 2010). Eco-tourism or well-controlled mass tourism (such as in Dalyan in Turkey or Hula in Israel) can bring useful benefits to local communities, with a limited impact on wetlands. Indirectly, tourists visits limit poaching instances and unsustainable use of natural resources.
However, mass tourism has a multi-faceted impact on wetlands: