The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas
To increase sustainable development and the management of tourism in protected areas, taking into account the needs of the environment, inhabitants, local businesses and tourists.
This is the main purpose of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECSTPA) that Europarc, (the organization that coordinates 400 protected areas in 35 European countries) releases to the parks that have presented a concrete programme of actions, linked to the principles of ecotourism and environmental sustainability, to be implemented over the next 5 years.
The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECSTPA) is similar to a certificate, which allows better management of protected areas for sustainable tourism development. The central element of the ECSTPA is the collaboration between all interested parties to develop a common strategy and an action plan for tourism development, based on an in-depth analysis of the local situation.
In particular, its specific objectives are:
- improve the knowledge and support of the European Protected Areas, fundamental subjects of our heritage, which must be preserved and protected for present and future generations;
- improve sustainable development and management of tourism in protected areas, taking into account the needs of the environment, inhabitants, local businesses and tourists.
Adherence to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, as demonstrated by the numerous national and international experiences, harmonizes and enhances the economic forces present in the territory and assures an adequate quality of life for the local population.
Improving sustainable development and tourism management, taking into account the needs of the environment, inhabitants, local businesses and tourists is a commitment not only for our organization, but also for the expectation of many local actors. The Val Grande National Park Authority and the Ossola Protected Areas Management Authority, after a participatory process that involved numerous tourism players, took part in the official certification delivery at the European Parliament on Wednesday 6 November 2013 in Brussels.
After 5 years of work, with the establishment and the first meeting of the control room held on 19 June 2017, the Val Grande National Park has formally begun the renewal of the first phase of the European Charter for sustainable tourism in protected areas assigned to the park in 2013. The process for revalidation started with the Forum held on 5 July 2017 which expressed the will to continue its commitment within the charter and engage the park and local stakeholders, old and new, throughout 2017. The revalidation dossier was sent to the Europarc Federation at the end of the process, according to the instructions contained in the new 2015 guide.
In Brussels, on 30 November 2018, nine Italian parks were awarded with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECSTPA), a quality certification assigned by Europarc, the largest network of European protected areas. At the end of a long participatory process that lasted a year, Europarc recognized the Val Grande National Park the renewal of the quality certification of sustainable tourism, which aims at nature conservation, landscape protection, biodiversity development and of the territories.
At the European Parliament, the President of the Park Massimo Bocci said: "The Charter is like a tapestry made of many pieces of coloured fabric sewn together by the Park; the tapestry we have created represents a park that is sustainable and accessible in a " slow " way, which makes a quality tourist offer grow and helps young people to bet on the territory ".