Destimed Plus, a chance for ecotourism in La Garrotxa


Destimed Plus, a chance for ecotourism in La Garrotxa

14 Oct

We could say that the beginning or turning point of all this work, its positioning and innovation started before 2001, the year in which La Garrotxa was accredited with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism and became the first Natural Park in the whole of Spain to do so.

Since then and until today, La Garrotxa has continued to evolve and innovate, and has become a destination where its natural values and landscape have become one of its most important attractions, turning it into an all-year-round destination.

When we were presented with the opportunity to participate in the European project INTERREG MED -DESTIMED PLUS "Ecotourism in Mediterranean destinations", a project involving 9 regions of the Mediterranean area with natural spaces, such as: Croatia, Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Albania, it was clear that La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park had to be form part. This Natural Park, together with Turisme Garrotxa and local companies, can greatly contribute to this project and at the same time use part of the research to design and improve our ecotourism products and packages developed in the Natural Park and the region.

One of the main objectives of the project is to accurately measure and control the impact of ecotourism in the territory, in order to provide those responsible for tourism planning and promotion and protected natural space with data, so that they can make the best decisions to reduce negative impacts, which can be offset by positive impacts of ecotourism.

In this sense, the project has created ecotourism packages, linked to La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, focused on the discovery of its natural and cultural values.

For each of the packages, the environmental, social and economic impact, the carbon footprint, the contribution to conservation and management have been calculated using a very careful methodology developed thanks to this project.

For each meal, accommodation, activity and transport included in the package, a checklist of numerous indicators is used to assess its degree of sustainability:

-To measure the sustainability of meals, the origin of each of the ingredients or products (vegetables, meat, fish, drink, bread, etc.), the method of cultivation, production, quantity served, packaging used, etc.

- To measure the sustainability of the activities; the maximum number of participants, support staff, the use of motorized transport or not, the type of fuel, the efficiency of the vehicle, the distance traveled, etc.

And to guarantee the conservation of the area, the regulatory, economic and technical means available to the area have been taken into account to guarantee its conservation for social and tourist use. It has also been estimated that part of the amount of these ecotourism packages will go to conservation and improvement of the areas.

In short, La Garrotxa is and will continue to be a benchmark in terms of ecotourism. Undoubtedly, thanks to research, innovation and the work that is done through the DESTIMED PLUS project, La Garrotxa tourism is continuously improving as a brand, as well as getting better positioning as a sustainable destination with more guarantees than ever.