The ECST: an operational tool, a participator method and an official award

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1 International Workshop Dissemination of best practices about the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST) Brindisi, 5th March 2015 The ECST: an operational tool, a participator method and an official award Patrizia Rossi Past Director, Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime (Italy) Chair, Europarc Sustainable Tourism Charter Evaluation Committee 1

2 LOVING THEM TO DEATH? The aims of protected areas are controversial: is it possible to reconcile conservation and development? Europarc working group about the impact of tourism on PAs. A specific tool is necessary! 2

3 What is the Charter? An operational tool for implementation of sustainable tourism principles in protected areas DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: «Any form of development, management or tourism activity which ensures the long-term protection and preservation of natural, cultural and social resources and contributes in a positive and equitable manner to the economic development and well-being of individuals living, working or staying in protected areas» 3

4 in other words: how to help protected areas and tourism business to define their sustainable tourism strategy, by means of a strategic and participated approach An international recognition to prize improvements made both by the destination as a whole and by the single enterprises. 4

5 How the Charter has been conceived? An EU LIFE project ( ) lead on behalf of the EUROPARC Federation by the French Federation of Regional Parks, with a Steering Committee composed by: a) 10 pilot parks in 6 European countries; b) representatives of the Tourism Sector at national and local level; c) representatives at global level of Tourism and Environmental Organisations. 5

6 Charter texts Principles, text Charter logo 6

7 How is it structured? in three parts: Part I: Commitment of the Park Part II: Commitment of the Tourism business Part III: Commitment of the Travel Agency 7

8 What are the advantages? for the park an international recognition working in partnership monitoring use of natural resources better public awareness better chances for raising funds for the tourism business an international recognition new commercial opportunities improving the quality of tourism offer lower running costs for the travel agency an international recognition new commercial opportunities improving the quality of tourism offer better customers satisfaction 8

9 What is the Park commitment? (Part I) 1- to accept the principles for sustainable tourism whilst adapting them to the local context 2- to define a medium term strategy ( 5 years) 3- from the strategy to the action plan: improving the quality of the tourism offer development of tourism products specific to the area raising public awareness training and monitoring 4- ratification project 5- evaluation of the strategy s results 6- renewing the commitment to the Charter for 5 years 9

10 The application process: 1. EUROPARC membership 2. Inscription in the candidates list and agreeing to the Sustainable Tourism Principles 3. Establishment of the Forum and elaboration of the STRATEGY and ACTION PLAN 4. Completion of the Application Report with above documents and annexes and dispatch of Application 5. Verification Visit and Report from verifier 6. Evaluation Committee takes final decision 7. Communication of results to EUROPARC Council 8. Award of the Charter 10

11 EUROPARC for the Charter Evaluation Committee: 6 experts representing parks, tourism businesses and travel agencies Verifiers: trained experts agreed by EUROPARC Sustainable Tourism Working Group: elaborates strategies Europarc National Sections: coordination, national methodology for part II Newsletter European Projects: European CharterNet, STEPPA, PARKS AND BENEFITS... Info: staff: Brigida Napolitano, 11 Internet:

12 Network 2014: 131 protected areas In 16 countries Bosnia/Herz.1 Croatia 2 Denmark 1 Finland 3 France 28 Germany 4 Italy 25 Latvia 1 Lithuania 2 Netherlands 3 Norway 1 Portugal 6 Serbia 2 Slovakia 1 Spain 38 UK

13 Networking meetings: Vilm 2004 Alsace 2006 Hannover 2005 Cairngorms 2007 Marittime/Mercantour 2008 Sierra Nevada 2009 Serbia 2011 Next: Charter for Sustainable Tourism networking meeting Vila Nova de Cerveira (Pt) from 4th-7th May Info: 13

14 Participatory method Very important requirement: THE FORUM The concept is to involve every stakeholders, in order to solve all the conflicts and contrasting interests. It has the task to elaborate STRATEGY and ACTION PLAN 14

15 The process in time: ex PNAM Next period and next RENEWAL in 2016 Evaluation of results and OFFICIAL RENEWAL Implementation of various steps of the ACTION PLAN Submission of candidature to EUROPARC evaluation by indipendent expert AWARD of the CHARTER Presentation and adoption of the strategy: important fact, the strategy is part of the socio-economic plan provided by the N.P. law and was approved by the Park Community Draft of the strategy: discussion and revision Meetings by groups of interest and Open Forum with all stakeholders 1998 Analysis and data collection: first information collected by experts, SWOT analysis in public assembly with tourism businesses and local stakeholders. Visitor survey (motivation 90% untouched nature, 78% park) External co-ordination Indipendent experts for analysis, moderation of public discussions, and for drafting the 15 texts

16 The Charter process: ex. PNAM developing a strategy in partnership with all local stakeholders: analysis of strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the area visitor survey: (90 % of the visitors come for the untouched nature; 78% for being in a park) training of local tourism business: training courses, methodological guide, visits of other parks and tourism areas a new tourism organisation for the area: an association or trust (private/public funds) for managing tourism in the area 16

17 Transforming the FORUM into a stable structure Establishment of an association: Ecoturismo in Marittime 40 tourism businesses members (almost all!) all public administrations (4 Villages e 2 Mountain Communities) Statutes and logo approved, Council and President elected promotion activities (Reisepavillon) special park tourism packages sold by a local Tour Operator 17

18 18

19 and finally International award ceremony Certificate 19

20 Transfrontier cooperation 20

21 The Park values: the untouched nature... Mountain park, from 800 to 3300 m a.s.l Visitors mainly in week-end and high peak season Big cities (Torino, I and Nice, F) about 100 km distant Few accommodation facilities.(family run businesses, not very high quality) Various sport activities (climbing, hiking, biking, skiing in winter) Traditional tourism (private holiday apartments) in decline 21

22 Beautiful scenary, sport and relax. 22

23 ... unique flora and fauna... 23

24 history: royal hunting reserve 24

25 promotion campaigns 25

26 NATURE: Bearded vulture observations and guided visits to the release site 26

27 big festivals and events for the release film, Italian and French versions 27

28 The wolf enclosure and information center

29 Botanical garden and butterflies garden 29

30 Visitor centers, picnic areas, parkings Jobs for local young people 30

31 Training: the transfrontier manual 31

32 Training: the transfrontier manual 32

33 Part II Award to the businesses 438 businesses in 25 parks: -in Spain, France UK Main requirements: - Existence of National awarding system - Park successfully completed part I 33

34 Forest of Bowland Spain 34

35 Part II: Commitment of the businesses Refuges and campings, managed by local people 35

36 36

37 Local products: tuma e bodi (cheese and potatoes) 37

38 Part III Award to Travel Agencies, Tour Operators -None already certified -Cooperation with TUI Pilot project in France in progress Several parks engaged in preparing packages 38

39 The Grand Tour: tourism transfrontier proposal 39

40 IMPACT OF ECST ON PARK TERRITORY Better attitude from tourism businesses towards the park, dialogue opportunities and shared objectives Better use of the Park status by businesses, and gaining awareness about the park and the quality of its territory as a resourse Visibility of the process (certificates, promotional material) Offer oriented towards sustainability Improving of tourism activities (grwoth in number of arrivals, new businesses opened, growth in number of people emploied in tourism) Better quality of the offer Better customers satisfaction Better protection of the territory, not IMPOSED but AGREED and SHARED

41 Added value from ECST in general the Charter is the motivation that brings different people to work together for a common goal and to cooperate with the Park it provides a method and useful working tools gives official international recognition for the work done and for constant improvement other protected areas in the same process to exchange experience and ideas 41

42 CONCLUSIONS: the Charter is......everyone pulling in the same direction! Thank you for your attention! 42

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