Catalonia bets on sustainable tourism


Catalonia bets on sustainable tourism

02 Nov
Beach tourism and urban tourism are important in economic terms and represent the predominant form of tourism in Catalunya. But look further and a new segment is revealed: Nature tourism also called Ecotourism that together with coastal tourism, have directed administration efforts towards the private sector and companies in the industry that develop, in turn, responsible and sustainable products.

Ecotourism represents quality. It means the moving away from quantity and massification. The objective of the administrations is to enhance balance within the territory and help to bring economic value to the tourist resources through operators and responsible activities that get close to the natural environment in order to offer an enriching experience.

The relationship between tourism and nature has been articulated via the ‘Pla de Foment de Turisme’, the Plan of Promotion for Tourism in protected natural areas of Catalonia, since 2015. We won’t go in to talk about the established objectives and priorities now, as these are already described through a link you can easily access. The objective is to highlight the decisive step of having created an ecotourism board, composed of managers of natural areas, related businesses and social agents that together will favour the continued promotion of the scheduled actions.

This year, the year of Sustainable Tourism, has given us the opportunity for further development. Taking this current declaration as our reference, we will work on the priorities, such as a cultural and model change; at an internal level promoting a corporate social responsibility project; prioritizing the promotion of the most sustainable tourism product; targeting support for small businesses and the promotion of sustainability certifications; and assisting with affiliation to the brands and labels of the Catalan Tourism Agency.

In terms of the target, the Tourism Promotion Plans, aim to support the convening of subsidies meant for local entities. These financial grants are published annually, and prioritize the actions and investments that pursue these objectives.

From the ecotourism table, we have worked on the organization of the 1st Ecotourism Forum in Catalonia, an important event that brought together 170 ecotourism professionals from our country. The forum, through presentations, roundtables and field trips, has contributed to the reflection on this model and make it more visible among society. The forum was held on 18 and 19 October in La Garrotxa, as a pioneering territory in the implementation of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism.