In 2016, following the recent updates on the Charter methodology – which included a revised structure of the Charter, with new principles and key topics – EUROPARC organised a new training for Verifiers in November. During 2 intense workshop days that took place in Gut Siggen (Germany), in the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung Seminar Center. 20 participants learned about the Charter Process and worked through the new materials.
Verifiers play a crucial role in the process of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: they assess and check the application and verify the veracity of the strategy and action plan being proposed.
ECST Verifiers Training 2016
Verifiers are experts in sustainable tourism and protected areas and may not specifically, “represent” the EUROPARC Federation through their verification visit but they certainly reflect its values and seek to secure maintenance of the standards that are expected of a charter area.
The previous Verifiers Training was organised in 2011, since then the Charter Network has been expanding and the methodology evolved, hence why the need for a new training in 2016.
For the first time, EUROPARC joined in the same training new verifiers, experienced verifiers and members of the Evaluation Committee. “It was a good opportunity to share experiences and get some important tips”, said Jovan Ljiljak.
During the Training, participants analysed in detail the Charter application and re-application forms, with the guidance of the Charter Evaluation Committee.
Knowledge was put into practice with different dynamic activities which included identification of all the stakeholders involved in the Charter process; simulation of visits and various activities to improve communication skills.
The verification visits for 2017 are expected to start in April 2017 and with this Verifiers Training, EUROPARC seeks to harmonise the approaches and interpretation of the questions;
Photos of the Verifiers Training are available here.
Being a ECST Verifier
The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas is a practical management tool that enables Protected Areas to develop tourism sustainably. Protected Areas applying to become a Sustainable Destination submit a completed application form, which includes the Sustainable Tourism Strategy and Action Plan, that will be checked by an appointed verifier. Following, the appointed verifier will visit the area and check if actions indicated have taken place and give advice and experience to bear to an individual park.
The objective of the visit is to discuss with the Protected Area’s authorities and all the other stakeholders about the major issues of tourism and to see how the entire territory addresses them,
said Jovan Ljiljak, who is one of the new trained Charter Verifiers, adding thet “(the verifier) is basically the correspondent between EUROPARC Federation and the Protected Area.”
Further, the verifier recommends the future inclusion of a park in the Charter Network through a report that will then be assessed by the Evaluation Committee.