XI EUROPARC Charter Network Meeting held in Greece
April 9th to 11th, Greece - The 11th edition of the Charter Network Meeting, held from 9 to 11 April in the mountainous area of the Tzoumerka, Acheloos Valley, Agrafa and Meteora National Park, brought together 140 people from 20 countries.
In this edition of the annual gathering of Sustainable Destinations adhered to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas, or Charter Network Meeting, inspiring stories were shared on managing the impact of visitation to natural and culture heritage, increasing the social and economic benefits to local communities and developing ecotourism as a driving force for rural areas development.
During the meeting, it was highlighted by key note speakers that Protected Areas need to build bridges, if we are to safeguard natural values and create opportunities for resilient communities to sprout. Bridges between EU policies at national and local level, and the practices that we do every day in protected areas. Bridges to connect people to their landscape, working side by side with the community and local producers, and creating conditions for new entrepreneurs and to keep the authenticity of the land for years to come. A bridge between generations, revealing how traditions inspire young generations in their passion to preserve their landscapes and developed new ecotourism experiences.
With the aim to explore sustainable response to the social and cultural impacts of tourism several workshops dealt with efficient communication and storytelling, capacity building and training for protected areas staff and local tourism enterprises, creating sustainable tourism packages in collaboration with tourism businesses and travel agencies, and tools for monitoring and planning of visitation flows in Protected Areas. At the end, all participants agreed that "to be a responsible tourist is necessary to be a responsible person".
CEETO project partners that attended the meeting networked with colleagues working around the globe on similar issues and exchanged ideas and experience especially in managing and monitoring visitation in protected areas. The inspirational film ˝A Sustainable Journey˝, produced in the framework of CEETO project with the objective of raising awareness on Sustainable Tourism and that has already been awarded with the Terres De l´Ebre Award – Best Movie Promoting Sustainabilitye at Terres Travel Festival – Films & Creativity in Spain, was presented to all participants of the meeting.
A more detailed report of the XI EUROPARC Charter Network Meeting and all of the presentations are available at the EUROPARC website.