ECST evaluation committee

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What is the evaluation committee?

The European Charter of Sustainable Tourism evaluation committee has oversight of all charter applicants and assess the application of Protected Areas wanting to join the ECST. They make a final recommendation to the EUROPARC Council on whether to award the Protected Area, including any conditions or comments to pass on to the applicant. The committee is made up of sustainable tourism experts from all over Europe. You can get to know them here:

Chair: Richard Denman

Following a first degree from Cambridge, Richard completed a doctoral thesis at the University of Edinburgh on the impact of tourism on agricultural enterprises across Scotland. He has retained a close interest in rural tourism for more than forty years, initially working as development and marketing director for the tourist board in central England, where he still lives, and subsequently as an independent consultant.

Richard has advised on tourism policy, planning and management in many countries worldwide. Much of this has been in the promotion of sustainability. He facilitated the European Commission’s Tourism Sustainability Group, writing their final report, and was the author of the UN World Tourism Organization’s report Making Tourism More Sustainable. Many of his projects have been at a local level, working with communities in destinations and protected areas on sustainable tourism policies and plans.

Richard has been involved with EUROPARC in the development and implementation of the Charter since its inception, including in the revision of its content and requirements. He has been delighted to work with so many colleagues across Europe who share his love of our precious landscapes and are working to link the enjoyment of them to their conservation.

Josep M. Prats

Josep Maria Prats graduated in Philosophy and Letters from the University of Barcelona and spent some years teaching. In 1989 he joined the management team of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park (Catalonia) as head of Environmental Education programs. In 1994 he assumed responsibilities in tourism and actively participated in the creation of the Association Turisme Garrotxa, where he was part of its Directive Board until his retirement in 2016. On behalf of the Garrotxa Park, one of the 10 Pilot Parks for the Charter, he was part of the Steering Committee for the drafting of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism from 1996 to 1999. Once the Charter was created, he was appointed member of the Evaluation Committee and has also been a verifier of the Charter since 2001. The Garrotxa Park was one of the first European parks awarded with the ECST, with Turisme Garrotxa being the Permanent Forum of the Charter in this protected area. For his work in favor of the European Charter he received the Alfred Toefer Medal in 2002 during the Annual Assembly of the EUROPARC Federation in Llandudno (Wales).

Sophie Poudou

Sophie Poudou has 10 years of experience in the development of mountain territories. She is now coordinator of the European Park Alpi-Marittime Mercantour, after having joined the teams of the Mercantour National Park. Bilingual, she divides her working time between France and Italy and lives in a mountainous valley in Piedmont. She also works at the University Côte d’Azur for part of the year on the theme of sustainable tourism.
Passionate about mountains, rural life, sports and mountaineering, ex-member of a multi-sports raid team, Sophie has traveled to more than 50 destinations, which has awakened her commitment to environmental protection, particularly through sustainable tourism.

Jimena Castillo

Jimena Castillo was born in Costa Rica (1978), but grow up in Honduras. Since 2011 she is living in Sweden. She studied Biology, as well as Research Applied to Monitoring and Project Evaluation.

Her carrier has a combination of experience achieved both within international cooperations, nonprofit organizations, and Governmental institutions.

Nowadays she works for the County Administrative Board of Scania as Environmental Projects Coordinator. She is responsible for the Certification Process of Kullaberg Nature Reserve as a Sustainable Tourism Destination, which is the first Protected Area certified by EUROPARC in Sweden.

She is the Project Manager of “Together We Can”, a project designed to facilitate the implementation of the 5 years action plan for sustainable tourism. They are currently developing a very interesting model of cooperation with other governmental organizations the private and tourist sector and other stakeholders.

Tina Müller

Tina Müller, born in Bern (Switzerland) in 1975, finished her first Master’s in economy, tourism and anthropology at the Universities of Bern and Berlin (Germany) in 2004. She did her anthropology field study about the Aborigines whilst travelling in Australia for a year.

After finishing her studies, she worked as a scientific assistant at the department of recreation and tourism at the University of Bern. Interested in the practical field of tourism, she changed jobs to become manager of Delémont’s youth hostel (French part of Switzerland). During that time, she finished her second Master’s in “Mediation of European Nature and Culture Heritage” at the University of Rennes (France).

Since 2010 she is the head of tourism and since 2016 Representative General Manager at the Swiss Parks Network where she is in charge of coordinating and developing tourism in the Swiss parks and cooperations on a national and international level. Additionally, in 2016, Tina Müller received s the “Tourism for Tomorrow Award” for the Swiss park – a nomination for Best Practice destination in sustainable tourism worldwide. In 2020, she was elected to the board of the Swiss Tourism Federation.