Two Garrotxa Travel Agencies Are First in Spain to Earn Certification under European Charter for Sustainable Tourism02 Nov 0 Likes
The first phase in Europe began in 2001, when La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park was included among the first ten protected European natural areas to receive ECST certification and became the first natural area to be certified in Spain.
This first phase of the ECST has enabled the protected natural area and its entire area of influence, Garrotxa County, to establish major synergies among its different stakeholders, institutions and organizations, thereby generating many opportunities for them to engage in collaborative work.
In the second phase, the ECST seeks the commitment, involvement and collaboration of the private tourism industry. La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park certified the first 18 companies in 2009.
The certification process calls for compliance with a minimum number of specific basic actions designed to guarantee that the company is committed to sustainable tourism. Finally, a collaboration agreement is signed between the company and the protected natural area stipulating the commitments undertaken by each party.
In the third phase, travel agencies receive certification in accordance with the ECST. Promoting this phase is one of the priorities of the EUROPARC Federation, the protected natural areas and the companies certified in the second phase. This phase makes it possible to close the circle around the protected natural area and its area of influence as a territory, along with tour operators committed to sustainable tourism and travel agencies preparing sustainable products.
The main objectives are:
- To encourage marketing of tourist activities in protected natural areas that respect the ECST principles and therefore contribute to conservation of the protected natural area as well as local development.
- To improve awareness of natural areas and the companies working there that embrace these principles.
- To recognize and differentiate between travel agencies for their voluntary commitment to the development of sustainable tourism in the protected natural areas where they operate.
In February 2017, two travel agencies in La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park were the first agencies in Spain to receive ECST certification.
The certification process was made possible thanks to the work done by La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park and Turisme Garrotxa (permanent forum of the ECST), and the commitment shown by the two certified travel agencies, Trescàlia SC and Nit i Vol SLU.
In April, La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park granted ECST certification to the first tourist package created by the company Trescàlia SC “The Orchids of La Garrotxa”.
- 2001: European Charter for Sustainable Tourism certification of La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park (one of seven pilot protected natural areas in Europe). ECST Phase I: Renovation every five years.
- 2009: First 18 companies receive ECST certification in La Garrotxa. ECST Phase II: Renovation every three years.
- 2017: First two travel agencies in Spain receive ECST Phase III certification. Renovation every 3 years.
- 156 natural protected areas in Europe have received ECST certification.
- 44 natural protected areas in Spain have received ECST certification.
- 6 natural parks in Catalonia have received ECST certification.
- 407 companies have been certified in Spain.
- 53 companies are in the process of being certified in La Garrotxa.