ECST Award Ceremony 2019

The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas is a methodology created by the EUROPARC Federation, with the aim of supporting protected areas to become Sustainable Destinations through active involvement of their local stakeholders.

Every year, the EUROPARC Federation awards Protected Areas who have successfully applied the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas methodology, delivering a tourism approach that is good for parks and good for people. To create positive outcomes for local communities, increase economic opportunities, whilst reducing environmental impacts of tourism, are the aims of the methodology managed by the EUROPARC Federation,  now implemented by 110 protected areas in 16 European countries. The biggest network of its kind in the world.

Check the photo album

CHARTER Award Ceremony 2019, Brussels (Photo: Olivier de Sadeleer)

The Charter Award Ceremony 2019

The Charter Award Ceremony 2019, our annual high-level event host in Brussels, was an opportunity to recognise the work of Protected Areas towards achieving sustainability in tourism. 65 participants gathered to will celebrate the successful applications of 16 EUROPARC Sustainable Destinations, some of them awarded for the first time while others, that have implemented the methodology before, will be awarded for the renewal of their commitment.

The event took place on December 2nd, from 14:00 to 18:00, in the European Committee of the Regions, kindly hosted by Roby Biwer, Vice-Chair of the ENVE Commission of the Committee of the Regions.

The Charter methodology enables Protected Areas to become an active player in the development of sustainable tourism in their region. With a high involvement of the local authorities, businesses and community, the methodology involves the creation of a common Sustainable Tourism Strategy and an Action plan for a period of 5 years.

During the ceremony, we will hear first-hand insights from the Sustainable Destinations that will be awarded and look at the importance of establishing private-public partnerships towards a sustainable development of Europe’s rural territories.

A sustainable journey

The Charter Award Ceremony has been an excellent occasion to not only celebrate 16 outstanding examples for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas from countries as diverse as Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Finland, Lithuania and Estonia, 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.

We have all taken a sustainable journey over many years working with stakeholders to improve the social, economic and environmental conditions of your region, territory and parks (Carol Ritchie)

Good for Nature, Good for People

Natural and cultural values, as well and local livelihoods and quality of life, go along with sustainable tourism as a meaningful experience that ensures quality levels economically viable projects, dealing with some transversal problems that need to be solved with a collaborative approach between private businesses promoting sustainability, the feeling of belonging to a common tourism destiny, and the need to work together to promote the territory and its conservation.

Sustainable Tourism is a state of mind, a conscious choice, to work, live and to be in holiday in a different way. Realising how our choices affect the local environment, culture and economy, can positively reshape our behavior.

Celebrating success with Protected Areas and their Business Partners!

A remarkable new aspect of the Charter Award Ceremony this year, was the official announcement of the winners of EUROPARC Star Awards, a prize to champion and acknowledge the effort and investments made by tourism businesses working with our Sustainable Destinations across Europe.

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, but also to inspire and support managers in pursuing a more sustainable approach in their business models.

The Star Awards awarded the businesses that have been active in the protection of their natural and cultural heritage, who are innovative and working to reduce environmental impacts, and to those inspiring a sustainable behavior with their clients.

Under the categories contribution to conservation, communication, innovation, community involvement, and reducing impacts on the environment, the businesses showed that “it is possible to make a profit without negative impacts on the environment.” The businesses are actively cooperating with the EUROPARC Network of Sustainable Destinations and now they need your help….

… to win a trip to EUROPARC Conference 2020 in Austria!

One of the businesses, together with a representative of the Park they are cooperating with, will be invited to present their business at EUROPARC Conference 2020, the largest event of protected area professionals in Europe that gathers over 400 participants annually!

The Conference will take place between 27-30th October, in Neusiedler See – Seewinkel National Park, Austria.

The voting ends at 23:59 of January 31st, and the Park with more votes will be the winner!

Vote now HERE!

CHARTER Award Ceremony 2019, Brussels (Photo: Olivier de Sadeleer)

Download the Final Programme

EUROPARC Charter Award Ceremony 2019 Programme

You can find the full Ceremony broadcast at:

Take a look at the Ceremony photos!

Online Photo Album

Get to know the Parks that were awarded!

EUROPARC network counts with 106 Sustainable Destinations (soon 110!) from 16 countries. They are spread all over Europe but united by a shared vision: to make sustainable tourism a meaningful quality experience which safeguards natural and cultural values, supports local livelihoods and quality of life and is economically viable.

The 4 New Sustainable Destinations




The 12 Sustainable Destinations that will renew their commitment







Take a look on the previous Charter Award Ceremonies 2017 and 2018, or get a deeper insight on the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas