The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECST) in Protected Areas is recognised internationally as a model for sustainable tourism management. It is in line with the international Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for destinations, and the European Commission’s tourism policy and its priority “to promote the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism”, and gives guidance to Parks and Businesses to work for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Tuscan Archipelago National Park, one of the main stakeholders of WINTER MED project, has launched, in recent months, the application process to renew the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST) by holding several public meetings in islands of Elba, Giglio and Capraia. The first Working Tables made it possible to reread, in a critical way, the activities carried out in the five-year period 2016-2020 (first period of application of the ECST in the Park), identifying the new strategic lines on which to focus attention and the objectives to be achieved, keeping account of the changed local tourist context.
During the subsequent meetings, the stakeholders of the area were further involved in the collection of ideas, opinions and proposals which were then transformed into concrete actions to develop sustainable tourism in the Tuscan Archipelago. The whole process aimed at developing the strategic lines and delivering the action plan for the next 5 years.
The new 2021-2025 Action Plan is the result of the collaboration between the Park Authority and 88 different local entities, which have identified their own concrete commitment to contribute to the development of sustainable tourism in the Tuscan Archipelago. Among the actions that the Park will carry out in the next five years there are, for example, the activation of the construction path of the Local Adhesion System for ECST-Phase 2, the annual maintenance of about 200 km of paths to ensure safe use aware of the territory, the promotion of typical products and local companies to be included in a ECST / MaB UNESCO enhancement network, the setting up of a new Info Park on the islands of Giglio and Giannutri and the organization of workshops to increase knowledge and awareness of local tour operators regarding the numerous opportunities for sustainable use of the Park.
Through the activities implemented within WINTER MED regional capacity building and policy learning Anci Tuscany joined this initiative, and together with Confesercenti Toscana submitted a pilot action Training course to strengthen sustainable tourism in the Tuscan Archipelago that is now an integral part of the Park’s Action Plan and that will be implemented in the second phase of the project’s transferring activities.
At the same time, the NP authorities contributed significantly to the WINTER MED action plan and to the alignments of the strategic lines and objectives to the wider sustainable development goals. All involved institutions committed to join forces and continue the path towards the sustainability together, through joint planning and implementation of concrete actions for the sustainable and responsible tourism in the Archipelago.
For more information on the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECST) visit the web site of the EUROPARC FEDERATION
On the web site of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park you can find all the information about the protected area and initiatives related to the implementation of ECST!
Photo Credit: Tuscan Archipelago National Park - www.islepark.it