First annual-progress meeting SIMTWIST Project









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.

Sandra Ricart (UA) visits Wageningen University & Research (WUR) to deepen on Hydrosocial Cycle analysis (WP4 of the SIMTWIST Project)

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:


Research activities:

  1. 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.


  1. Sandra deepened her knowledge of the HSC approach and explored tools to combine the HSC approach with Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) techniques as part of the SIMTWIST project. She reviewed and tested new tools for synthetizing and characterizing qualitative data from the stakeholder interviews carried out in Benidorm. Maria Reyes and Sandra discussed about the potential use of new qualitative software called VUE© (Visual Understanding Environment) to visualize stakeholders’ relationships. Maria will now apply the VUE© software to develop conceptual maps from interview material. Sandra has improved mastery of approach and tools will greatly help when carrying out the Benidorm and Rimini SIMTWIST cases studies.


                   Lumen building at WUR.


Teaching activities:

  1. 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.
    Video-interview os Dr. Sandra Ricart for 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.

    Dr. Sandra Ricart with students of the Tourism Systems Analysis course.

    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.

María Reyes (WUR) visits the University of Alicante to carry out the first phase of the Spanish case study (Benidorm) of the SIMTWIST project

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.

Bas Amelung (WUR), coordinator of the SIMTWIST project, visits the Interuniversity Institute of Geography (University of Alicante)

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).

Explanation of the management system of the Marina Baja Water Consortium (MBWC) by Jaime Berenguer, chief operating officer.
Attendees to the fieldwork session gathered at the headquarters of the MBWC, in Callosa d’en Sarrià. From left to right: Jaime Berenguer (MBWC), Sandra Ricart (UA), Bas Amelung (WUR) and Antonio Rico (UA).

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.

Conference held on Tuesday, November 26, at the Aulari II of the University of Alicante

Kick-off meeting

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