In June 16th and 17th 2020, the annual progress meeting was carried out online. Originally, this meeting was planned in Alicante. The online meeting that lasted two days, was an opportunity for all the members to present their different contributions to the WPs of the project. Each partner presented their progress of the different WPs that they are coordinating and involved. The meeting was also an opportunity to align objectives, activities, and plan for the following year, taking into account all the modifications needed due to the pandemic regarding travel restrictions, etc. Also, the mid-term report was discussed and structured.
Dr. Sandra Ricart, researcher at the Interuniversity Institute of Geography of the University of Alicante, travelled to Wageningen from February 17th until March 13th, in order to carry out together with the team of the University of Wageningen (Dr. Bas Amelung and Dr. Maria Reyes), at the Environmental Systems Analysis research group), tasks related to the WP4 (Hydrosocial Cycle Analysis) of the SIMTWIST project. As visiting researcher granted by the Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research (WIMEK) research program through a fellowship grant, Dr. Ricart carried out research, teaching and dissemination activities in order to go deeper into the Hydrosocial Cycle analysis and approach to be applied in Benidorm and Rimini case studies.
The main activities carried out by Dr. Ricart are detailed below:
Sandra initiated discussions about how to better understand Benidorm’s tourism-dominated urban water system by integrating hydrology (water supply) and social behavior (water demand). On March 10th she met with Prof. Rutgerd Boelens of the Water Resources Management group (WRM) to talk about new challenges for Hydrosocial Cycle (HSC) analysis and to discuss insights from Political Ecology that can be usefully connected to SIMTWIST’s HSC analysis.
On February 21st morning Sandra participated in an expert meeting to discuss the new EdX Online Course entitled Sustainable Tourism: Climate Change Emergencies, developed by Arjaan Pellis, Edward Huijbens, Machiel Lamers and Bas Amelung. Sandra provided feedback on the course scripts, shared her experiences as the coordinator of a MOOC on natural risk analysis at the University of Alicante, and attended the afternoon seminar about tourism and climate change. In addition, she was video-interviewed about the future of tourism under climate change. The video recordings will be used as visual content in the EdX course.
2. On March 3rd, Sandra delivered a full course day in the course “Tourism Systems Analysis” (ESA-23806), coordinated by Bas Amelung. Sandra’s contribution, entitled “The Hydrosocial Cycle Analysis: Approach and application”, included a lecture, an interactive workshop and a brief exam (overall around 4 hours of teaching). Teaching activities took place at Breda University of Applied Sciences and were well received by the 27 students that were present. The Tourism Systems Analysis course is a second-year course in the Bachelor of Science Tourism program, a joint degree between Wageningen University and Breda University of Applied Sciences.
3. Sandra supported Bas Amelung in the supervision of MSc students who are writing their MSc theses in relation to the SIMTWIST project. She conducted regular meetings on February 20th and 25th with Claudia Espejo, whose thesis focuses on water-energy saving measures for climate change adaptation, and meetings on February 20th, and March 2nd and 10th with Tamina Reinecke, whose thesis focuses on climate services and tourism development. Both MSc theses focus on the Spanish tourism destination of Benidorm, a city that Sandra and their colleagues from the University of Alicante have been studying for many years regarding similar research topics.
Dr. María Reyes, researcher of the Department of Environmental Systems Analysis of the University of Wageningen, travelled to Alicante from January 11th until February 5th, in order to carry out together with the team of the University of Alicante (Dr. Antonio Rico, Dr. Sandra Ricart and Dr. Rubén Villar), the first phase of the fieldwork related to the Spanish case study (Benidorm) of the SIMTWIST project. The fieldwork consisted of interviews – previously scheduled – with each of the 11 actors that make up the management model of the Benidorm hydro-social cycle in relation to the tourism-water nexus. Each of the interviews was divided into two sections: the first part consisted of a conceptual map regarding the perception of what a robust integrated water system requires, while the second part consisted of a questionnaire on governance and the capacity to reach agreements on key issues of the water system. The analysis of each stakeholder’s conceptual model is an essential part of the project’s WP3, which focuses on participatory modelling of the water system. On the other hand, the questionnaire is a fundamental component of WP4, which deals with the hydro-social cycle of the city of Benidorm.
From November 25th to 30th, Bas Amelung, Assistant Professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences (WUR) and coordinator of the SIMTWIST project, visited the Interuniversity Institute of Geography. During his stay, Bas Amelung has been working with the Spanish colleagues on scientific and teaching activities. Among the main activities carried out are a field visit to the case study of Benidorm and some meetings with stakeholders directly involved in the SIMTWIST project (e.g., the Marina Baja Water Consortium).
In respect of teaching, Bas Amelung has gave a “Tourism’s Carbon Footprint” lecture to students from BSc Degree in Tourism and Master’s Degree in Planning and Management of Natural Risks. This lecture had a theoretical-practical nature in which, for example, attendees could calculate the carbon footprint of their last trip through a mobile application.
From June 24th till 26th 2019 the SIMTWIST kick-off meeting was carried out at Wageningen-the Netherlands, in the WUR Campus. The purpose of the kick-off meeting was to get to know all partners involved and learn more about the challenges the project aims to address in the case study areas (Benidorm and Rimini). Read more here