1. This initiative verifies that the protected natural areas that wish to join are committed to applying the principles of sustainable tourism
  2. With these two parks, 9 protected natural areas managed by the Government of Catalonia have obtained the ECST

L’Alt Pirineu Natural Park and El Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park and the municipalities within their boundaries have obtained the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECST). Both parks will receive official accreditation on 30 November at a ceremony in Brussels.

The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Natural Areas is an initiative of the EUROPARC Federation, an organisation that brings together protected natural areas from almost forty European countries. This accreditation verifies that there is a commitment on the part of the protected natural areas to apply the principles of sustainable tourism. It is a voluntary method and commitment; the ECST provides guidelines for the managers of protected natural areas and tourism bodies and companies to jointly and collaboratively define their development strategies.

The aim is to increase knowledge about the protected area and support its preservation, while working to improve the sustainable development and tourism management of protected areas and their area of influence, taking into account the needs of the environment, the local population, local businesses and visitors.

Both L’Alt Pirineu Natural Park and El Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park started the process of joining the ECST in 2021. Both parks have designed a strategic plan and an action plan for the promotion and management of sustainable tourism with the collaboration of local stakeholders (companies, professional associations, town councils, regional authorities and organisations, among others). In this regard, efforts have been made to address issues such as reducing tourism seasonality, supporting local economic activities through tourism, especially in agriculture and crafts, and implementing measures to prevent overuse of natural areas and promoting organised access to preserve their natural value and the landscape.

Based on this road map, work will be done in successive phases to ensure that the tourism businesses that operate in these natural areas adhere to the principles of the ECST. To achieve this, they will be provided with technical support to carry out their activity in a more sustainable way; they will take part in specific promotions as accredited companies; and they will from part of a European network of sustainable destinations involving companies and tourism stakeholders with the same interest in promoting a more respectful type of tourism that is committed to the environment and local communities.

There are currently seven natural parks managed by the Government of Catalonia that have this accreditation. These are the natural parks of the Ebro Delta, the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone, Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter, Serra del Montsant, Cap de Creus, Capçaleres del Ter i del Freser and Els Ports.