Emilia Centrale Parks Managing Authority towards the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas.
April 16th, Italy - The activities carried out in the framework of the CEETO Project lead to the start of the permanent stakeholders forum in this region, a fundamental step towards becoming a Sustainable Destination and being awarded the Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST).
The Emilia Centrale Parks Management Authority participates in the CEETO Interreg CE project under the aegis of the Emilia-Romagna Region - Protected Areas, Forests and Mountain Development Service. Within the project, the Authority is implementing Pilot Actions in two of the Protected Areas under its command: the High Modenese Apennine Regional Park and the Salse di Nirano Natural Reserve. These activities are part of those provided in the five year Action Plan that the CEETO Project requires to develop.
Drawing inspiration from these activities, the Park Authority decided to "seize the opportunity" to extend the activities provided for the CEETO Project and take advantage of the works in progress, like the consultation with local stakeholders and the preparation of the related Action Plans, to adhere these two parks to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST). With it, the Authority aims to extend the methods and criteria for sustainable tourism management to the entire territory it is responsible for.
On April 16th 2019, the first Charter Forum of this region was launched at the Hospital Court of Rubiera (Province of Reggio Emilia), in which stakeholders and citizens were informed of the start of the activities towards the adhesion to the ECST, which would end with the obtention of the Sustainable Destination Award by the Emilia Centrale Parks Managing Authority.
The ECST is a programme created and managed by EUROPARC Federation, which coordinates 400 protected areas in 39 European countries. A central element of the ECST is the establishment of a Forum involving all stakeholders present in the territory to develop a common strategy and a specific Action Plan. The Action Plan is based on a shared in-depth analysis of the local current situation for sustainable tourism management, takes into account the needs of the environment, local communities, local business activities and visitors of the park and must be implemented within a period of five years since its definition.
The adherence to the ECST, as demonstrated by the numerous national and international experiences, allows to harmonize and enhance the economic forces present on the territory and to guarantee an adequate quality of life to the local population.