Proposals for the positive impact of tourism on the conservation of protected natural areas in La Garrotxa: European project Destimed +


Proposals for the positive impact of tourism on the conservation of protected natural areas in La Garrotxa: European project Destimed +

14 Oct

The packages tours proposals for tourist that are more respectful with our natural environment have always been a challenge in La Garrotxa. Proof of this has been the accreditation of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, the 1st in Spain. But this commitment has not only been made effective by public institutions. It is important to highlight the commitment of the private sector to the development of tourism in a sustainable way. Thus, from the companies of activities, such as restaurants and accommodation, have also been committed over the years to the ECST, that’s the reason why the first two travel agencies accredited in Spain are in the Garrotxa region.

But committing to sustainable tourism is not just a brand or a label, we are constantly working to improve our proposals for stays and visits to La Garrotxa. And in addition to this, we must keep in mind that we have the privilege of enjoying an exceptional natural environment in the Iberian Peninsula: a volcanic area. This volcanic landscape is protected under the regulations of the Natural Park, whose main objective is the conservation and protection of this volcanic landscape.

In 2020, a year of pandemic but also of important rethinking year in the tourism sector, we set ourselves very clear goals in order to improve our stay proposals:

- Creation of 4D products: deseasonalization, decentralization, diversification and distribution of benefits.
- Reduction of the ecological footprint
- Payback visitor: collaboration with conservation projects of the Natural Park

There is a growing demand for ecotourism, or tourism with a high environmental value: for improvement, knowledge or simply to enjoy nature and open areas. We need to be aware that if we want people to continue to enjoy this natural environment, it is also our responsibility to be involved in its conservation. That is why we make proposals promoting the visit throughout the year, proposals to more unknown places of natural and cultural interest, to reduce the impact in the most frequented spaces, innovative proposals creating more memorable experiences and involving more services and collaborating thus in improving the local economy.

Every activity involves an ecological footprint. From the world of tourism, we have long given the data of the impact generated by our activities, information that customers can decide to compensate, in various ways. In addition to this, a lot of work has been done in the calculation of this footprint in reference to the trips and services used (travel by plane, train or bus). But when a visitor stays in our region, there are many services involved, not only transport, but also those related to meals (restaurants and bars), activities and the stay itself in different accommodation (hotels, rural tourism or camping).

Through the development of an ecological footprint calculator, thanks to our participation in the European project (Destimed +), we have the possibility to calculate the environmental impact of our stay packages. The result is that we see how important each of the activities is:

- The meals: taking into account not only the origin of the raw materials, but also the energy needed to prepare the gastronomic proposals.
- The stay according to type of accommodation: type and amount of energy and expenditure.
- Travel: by car, bicycle or on foot.

With this report of each of the proposals of stay (between 3 and 7 days), we can make improvements. Changing where we see that it is necessary to reduce the ecological footprint without harming the experience offered to our customers. And best of all, that we make the data public. This is another factor to be valued positively by our client when they come to visit us and buy our proposal. We also offer that tour operators who program La Garrotxa, can offer packages of authentic ecotourism and with a high contribution in the fight for the mitigation of climate change.

As a proposal for the positive impact of tourism on the conservation of protected natural spaces we present an experience that incorporate conservation projects. This is a direct collaboration with the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. Precisely this point is what we have worked on in the framework of the European project Destimed +, which aims to improve levels of integration between regional tourism and conservation policies in Mediterranean protected areas through the creation of ecotourism itineraries which are developed using a collaborative approach, both locally and regionally. We have worked together to create this type of experience the Volcanic Zone Natural Park, Turisme Garrotxa and Trescàlia

We are proud to present the first tourist proposals packages in La Garrotxa, where we will not only discover the natural, cultural and ethnographic values, but also collaborate directly in one of the conservation projects currently being carried out in the Natural Park.

This proposal incorporates a session with the technician responsible for the conservation project, and then a field work session, within the specific tasks of this project. As the pacakges are carried out throughout the year, we have not only identified one single conservation project, but depending on the time of year and characteristics of the group, the fieldwork can be very different. Among other projects, we have the Can Jordà cultivated plant conservation center, the butterflies annual monitoring scheme or the conditioning of geological outcrops.

The incorporation of these tasks of voluntary work in the field, have two main objectives: to collaborate in the conservation of the natural spaces that we are enjoying and the experience of being participants with our direct task of the improvement of our environment; this natural areas that makes us enjoy and motivates us to keep traveling everywhere.

Traveling to La Garrotxa, in addition to making us enjoy the experience of discovering a fantastic environment, will make us feel useful participating in the improvement and conservation of our beloved protected areas.

If you want to know more about our packages and how we have developed them, you can find it at: