CEETO Interreg Project: Central Europe Eco-Tourism: tools for nature protection

CEETO aims to make tourism a real driver for nature protection and local socio-economic well-being.

Protected Areas (PAs) and Natura 2000 sites cover around 20% of the territory of the Countries involved in CEETO partnership (IT; AT; HU; DE; SI; HR).

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These areas represent the main environmental hotspots and include the most valuable natural assets. Among the causes of negative impacts on the environment, the unsustainable and thoughtless tourism is one of the main factors.

Tourism is an economic activity strongly driven by natural attractiveness, but the same natural features can be easily threatened and damaged by all the direct and indirect pressures linked to it (i.e. transport, infrastructures, facilities, etc.)

Furthermore, tourism can create strong conflicts with local communities on natural resources use (water, land, etc.) and on services/infrastructures use (roads, waste management facilities, etc). Nowadays, most of the PAs in CEETO Countries suffer a lack of planning, management and monitoring tools especially designed to make tourism activities inside PAs sustainable, environmental friendly and a positive boost for nature protection.

CEETO project – Central Europe Eco-Tourism: tools for nature protection will run from June 2017 until May 2020.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

CEETO project main objective is to protect and enhance the natural heritage of Protected Areas (PAs) and Natura 2000 Network by promoting an innovative sustainable tourism planning model, which reduces usage conflicts, sustains social and territorial cohesion, improves the quality of life of local communities, and encourages the tourism industry to concretely contribute to nature conservation.

CEETO project seeks to elaborate an integrated approach that includes environmental, social and economic aspects, in order to define and test innovative models for a sustainable tourism, able to reinforce the effectiveness of nature conservation policies and measures applied in PAs and to make tourism a real driver for nature protection and for local economic and social well-being.

HOW CEETO WILL BE IMPLEMENTED

To achieve the aforementioned objectives, CEETO will implement an innovative governance system for tourism based on a participatory planning approach and involving bodies at policy making level and protected area management level. Likewise, CEETO will capitalize the sustainability and participation principles of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST) in order to improve the managing capacities of protected area managers and implement a sustainable use of nature and its assets.

  • 1. Diagnosis phase: collection of current legislation, tools & practices on nature conservation and sustainable tourism in order to outline weaknesses and gaps, and to define the most effective and innovative model and tools to be applied
  • 2. Testing phase: testing models on 8 pilot areas through the participation of public and private actors, and continuous adjustment and revision of the model and related tools aimed to find the most innovative, efficacious, transferable and feasible solutions.

The impacts and pressures of human activities go beyond administrative boundaries, transnational cooperation is fundamental to tackle common and complex issues by gathering all the available resources (knowledge, capacities, experiences, financing) and respond to common challenges at an appropriate level. This approach will ensure to get a whole vision (macro regional approach) but adaptable to local specificities and develop a common agenda for future action. Furthermore, the permanent network established inside CEETO project will allow the dialogue at transnational level, ensuring the long-term exchange and spreading of project achievements, and a constant improvement of the tools and policies.