Sustainable Tour Operators – Charter Part III

Working with partners is an adventure © Parc National du Mercantour (FR)

Having created sustainable destinations with public, business and communities working together, agreeing sustainable practices with tour operators who bring visitors to the protected areas, completes the sustainable tourism charter cycle .

This part of the charter process provides an opportunity for operators that organise tours to and within protected areas to be recognised under the Charter.

This requires tour operators to commit to the Charter vision, mission and principles and to demonstrate significant adherence to sustainability criteria in their own operations and management. They should also be engaged in partnership working with protected area authorities, communities and local businesses.

The French and Spanish EUROPARC sections have led the way in promoting and implementing the methodology to certify sustainable practices of tour operators working in protected areas. Tour operators working under this framework will agree to work in partnership with the authority responsible for the strategy in the protected area and the local.

What are the benefits of Sustainable Tour Operators?

Tour operators working under this framework will agree to work in partnership with the authority responsible for the strategy in the protected area and the local tourist-service providers. This will involve analysing the compatibility of its products with the objectives of the area. The visitor flow they attract to an area must respect and not damage the heritage resources that the tourists come to see. Working with the Charter full brings a range of benefits to tour operators. These are:be recognised at European level, • develop new business opportunities, • strengthen the quality of its products, • increase visitor satisfaction.

  • be recognised at European level,
  • develop new business opportunities,
  • strengthen the quality of its products,
  • increase visitor satisfaction.

Sustainable Tour Operators in France

Since 2014, EUROPARC France and IPAMAC have been developing, for the very first time in Europe, a certification scheme for Sustainable Tour Operators in order to formally work with the Protected Areas. This new phase of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST) provides an opportunity for operators to organise touristic activities in and around French National and Regional Parks, by following the principles of sustainable tourism proposed by the Charter.

Currently, there are 15 tour operators working with French parks, 12 certified in 2015 and 3 certified early in 2016, and the results are quite impressive!

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For more information about the Charter part III in France, contact EUROPARC France.