La Garrotxa, 20 years of Sustainable Tourism


La Garrotxa, 20 years of Sustainable Tourism

02 Nov
Then, with the popularization of cars in the 60’s, tourism increased. However, there was a real boom in the sector with the creation of the first rural tourism accommodation providers in the mid 1990’s, when the first activities designed for tourists were created. In 1996 different stakeholders from the public and private sector of la Garrotxa, agreed on the necessity of organizing the sector, resulting in the creation of the Association called Turisme Garrotxa.

The first statutes of the Association already mentioned the concept of ‘sustainable tourism’. A few years later, after the definition of the term ‘sustainable tourism’ was better established, EUROPARC Federation  worked on the creation of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism. This was a new working scheme which would be applied five years later in La Garrotxa as one of the selected pilot territories.

At that time, no one knew how this initiative would work out. It offered guidelines to help destinations to develop their tourism strategy. Sixteen years later, good results have been achieved and moreover, there are an increasing number of protected natural areas interested in applying it. These results prove the validity and efficiency of European Charter for Sustainable Tourism as a means of creating synergies between the public and private sector as well as a method of shaping the future of tourism in destinations.

Without the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, it would have been difficult to achieve the objectives set in La Garrotxa. These objectives were: creating a network of footpaths, named Itinerànnia; highlighting the local cultural heritage under the brand-name Garrotxa Cultour; promoting professionalism and improving economic, environmental and social performance of several tourism companies over the years.

Today, Turisme Garrotxa has fifty companies specializing in providing active-nature, gastronomy and the organization of meetings and events, giving the best possible service to all types of operators and travel agents.