For the best possible management of protected areas
The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism
What is the charter
The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST) is is both a management tool and a certification to allow better management of protected areas for the development of sustainable tourism.
The central element of the Charter is the collaboration between all parties involved to develop a common strategy and action plan for tourism development, on the basis of an in-depth analysis of the local situation. The ECST's objectives are protection of natural and cultural heritage and continued **improvement of tourism management^^in the protected area, which takes account of the needs of the environment, local residents, local businesses and visitors.
The ECST takes its lead from a EUROPARC document produced in 1993 titled "Loving Them to Death? Sustainable Tourism in Europe's Nature and National Parks", it reflects the World and European priorities set out in Agenda 21, adopted at the Earth Summit at Rio in 1992 and from the 6° community programme of actions for sustainable development. The Charter is one of the priorities for European Parks as defined by the IUCN Parks for Life (1994) action programme.
Moreover, the growing importance of developing sustainable forms of tourism was underlined as a theme of international interest in the "Guidelines for International Sustainable Tourism" from the Convention of Biological Diversity. The Charter addresses the principles of these guidelines directly and provides a practical tool to implement them in protected areas locally.
The ECST is coordinated by EUROPARC Federation which with the support of the national sections of the federation (like Federparchi-Europarc Italia), oversee the awarding of the Charter to protected areas and coordinates the network of certified areas.
Founding principles of the Charter
-Increase awareness of, and support for, Europe’s protected areas as a fundamental part of our heritage, that should be preserved for, and enjoyed by, current and future generations.
-Improve the sustainable development and management of tourism in protected areas, which takes account of the needs of the environment, local residents, local businesses and visitors.
The ECST is based on 10 principles, which all participants in the Charter process underwrite and that inspire all the Charter actions. 1. Working in partnership: involving all those implicated by tourism in and around the protected area in its development and management.
2. To work out a strategy: to prepare and implement a sustainable tourism strategy and action plan for the protected area.
3. To protect and enhance the area’s natural and cultural heritage, and to protect it from excessive high impact tourism development.
4. Quality: to provide all visitors with a high-quality experience in all aspects of their visit.
5. Communication: to communicate effectively to visitors about the special qualities of the area.
6. Specific local tourism products: to encourage specific tourism products which enable discovery and understanding of the area.
7. To increase knowledge, training: to increase knowledge of the protected area and sustainability issues amongst all those involved in tourism.
8. Residents quality of life: to ensure that tourism supports and does not reduce the quality of life of local residents.
9. Benefits for the economy: to increase benefits from tourism to the local economy.
10. Flow monitoring, impact reduction: to monitor and influence visitor flows to reduce negative impacts.
Italian Parks that have been awarded the Charter:
• Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime, certified since 2001 (...we were the first!)
• Parco Nazionale Monti Sibillini, certified since 2002
• Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta, certified since 2006
• Parco Regionale dell'Adamello, certified since 2008
• Aree Protette delle Alpi Lepontine, certified since 2008
• Sistema di Aree Protette dell'Oltrepò Mantovano, certified since 2008:
o Riserva naturale Paludi di Ostiglia
o Riserva naturale Isola Boscone
o Riserva naturale Isola Boschina
o Parco Golene Foce Secchia
o Parco San Lorenzo
o Parco San Colombano
o Parco Golenale del Gruccione
o Zona di Protezione Speciale "Viadana, Portiolo di San Benedetto Po, Ostiglia"
• Parco Alto Garda Bresciano, certified since 2008
• Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, certified since 2011
• Parco Nazionale della Sila, certified since 2011
• Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei, certified since 2012
• Parco naturale regionale "Dune costiere da Torre Canne a Torre San Leonardo", certified since 2012 • Riserva Naturale di Monte Rufeno, certified since 2012
• Sistema dei Parchi del Salento, certified since 2012:
o Parco naturale regionale "Costa Otranto – S. Maria di Leuca e Bosco di Tricase"
o Parco naturale regionale "Litorale di Ugento"
o Parco Naturale Regionale "Isola di S. Andrea – Litorale di Punta Pizzo"
o Parco Naturale Regionale "Porto Selvaggio e Palude del Capitano"
o Riserva Naturale Orientata regionale "Palude del Conte e Duna Costiera – Porto Cesareo"
o Parco Naturale Regionale "Bosco e Paludi di Rauccio"