Charter Award Ceremony 2018: 19 Sustainable Destinations awarded in Brussels!

Charter Award Ceremony 2018, European Parliament, Brussels

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Every year, we celebrate success with the Sustainable Destinations that have started their path or renewed their commitment towards Sustainability. On the 29th November, 19 Sustainable Destinations were awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas, in a high-level Ceremony organised in the European Parliament, kindly hosted by the Member of the European Parliament Mr Paolo de Castro from the Group of the progressive alliance of Socialists & Democrats.

EUROPARC was delighted to welcome a range of high-level speakers to this year’s Ceremony: the MEP Julie Ward from the CULT Committee, MEP Giovanni La Via from Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Christof Kienel, Head of Unit Tourism, Secretariat of the Commission for Natural Resources (NAT), European Committee of the Region and Nicola Notaro, Head of Unit Nature Protection, DG Environment.

The Charter Award Ceremony 2018

Ignace Schops and MEP Paolo de Castro at the Charter Award Ceremony 2018

The implementation of the Charter is an opportunity to work side-by-side with local business partners and ensure that tourism can bring social and economic benefits to the local community.

There is a clear link between tourism development and Sustainable Agriculture, as the  MEP Paolo de Castro, who is also Vice-chair of the Agriculture Committee, highlighted in his motivating welcome speech. Moreover, Gianfranco Ciola from the Dune Costiere Regional Nature Park spoke about the important project that they are carrying out in the area based on agriculture as a tool for enhancing the rural territory with a view to sustainable development linked to knowledge and tourism.

With the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage as a background of all events in Brussels, we invited the MEP Julie Ward from the CULT Committee and heard the example of the Spanish National Park of Garajonay and the “Silbo Gomero”, a whistle language used for the daily tasks, as a warning and to deceive the authorities of the mountain and the island. Despite a cultural tradition, the Silbo was endangered and fell in disuse, but its recognition as Immaterial World Heritage, made it recover and today it is taught in schools, studied and researched.

from left to right: Gianfranco Ciola and Simonetta dello Monaco from Dune Costiere, and Francisco Correa, Master silbadore from La Gomera.

Working together

The Charter Award Ceremony has been an excellent occasion to not only celebrate 19 outstanding examples for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas from countries as diverse as Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom and Germany, but also allowed to share experiences and discover how every Park shares the same passion for their Nature and People, for the natural and cultural treasures.

This shared understanding could be felt in the short thank you speeches given by the Park representatives when accepting the Charter Award Certificate. Even if not all of them were given in English, combined translation efforts allowed to make every contribution understood. A beautiful example of the major aspect the Charter Network is all about.

The Charter works, because we work together,

highlighted EUROPARC Director Carol Ritchie.

The key principles of the Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas comprise the protection of the natural and cultural heritage, participation by all stakeholders, effective partnership working, planning to prepare and implement a sustainable tourism strategy, to realize the environmental, social and economic benefits of everyone working more sustainably.

Good for Nature, Good for People

The local engagement that Protected Areas are challenged to achieve with the implementation of the methodology is one of the stepping stones of the Charter, as it was highlighted by the French Garajonay National Park authority (Guadalupe Island) who described it as “a powerful instrument to better influence on the tourism development into and around Park:

the charter plays an important role to deal with transversal problems that only can be solved by working together – private businesses promoting sustainability, the feeling of belonging to a common tourism destiny, and the need to work together in viable projects that promote the territory and its conservation.

This year EUROPARC re-awarded 15 and welcomed 4 new Sustainable Destinations to the Network.

We are now counting 168 Charter Parks in 20 countries. They are spread all over Europe but unite around the shared vision to make sustainable tourism a meaningful quality experience which safeguards natural and cultural values, supports local livelihoods and quality of life and which is after all economically viable.

New Sustainable Destinations Awarded

Sustainable Destinations re-awarded





United Kingdom

Congratulations to all the Sustainable Destinations awarded. You are on the right path to make the difference within your community. Proving that Sustainable Tourism is Good for Nature and Good for People.

International Premiere of the film ‘A SUSTAINABLE JOURNEY’

The International Premiere of the film took place during the Charter Award Ceremony. Produced by EUROPARC Federation in the framework of CEETO project, this film portrays the story of a traveler seeking to escape the pressures of everyday life to a different kind of tourism that he believes will be good for nature and good for him too. The objective of the film is to raise awareness among travelers and local communities on the importance of sustainable tourism.

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The Film is available in 5 different languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish and German.

We would like to congratulate and thank all the awarded Charter Parks once more for having celebrated with us here in Brussels and for having made the Charter Award Ceremony 2018 a real success!

We hope the event left all participants feeling energized and inspired to engage even more with or within the Charter Network.

We hope the event left all participants feeling energized and inspired to engage even more with or within the Charter Network. To keep your memories alive we share with you the photos taken throughout and the live video of the conference.