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.

SUSTAINABILITY & COOPERATION

  • Enables a closer engagement with Protected Area authorities;
  • Strenghtens the sustainability of products and services;
  • Increases visitor satisfaction;
  • Allows you to gain measureable environmental, economic and social benefits;
  • Directly contributes to the protection and sustainable management of your natural and cultural heritage.

VISIBILITY & PROMOTION

  • Right to use the Charter logos for Partners and Tour Operators;
  • Visibility on the EUROPARC website and network of Sustainable Destinations;
  • Eligibility to apply for the STAR Awards, a special EUROPARC award for Business Partners and Tour Operators, awarded at the European Parliament;
  • Recognition and promotion at national and European level.

NETWORKING & CAPACITY BUILDING

  • Access to the European Network of Sustainable Destinations for the development of new business opportunities;
  • Networking with other businesses in sustainable tourism;
  • Possibility of engaging with projects and funding;
  • Learning new ideas through participation in the Charter Network Meetings;
  • Engagement with training and marketing opportunities;
  • Access to EUROPARC “library” of online tools and trainings in sustainable tourism.

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 14 tour operators working with French parks and results are quite impressive!

Downloads available:

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

Sustainable Tour Operators in Spain

The first Tour Operators in Spain were awarded in La Garrotxa, Catalonia. So far, there are 2 incoming agencies working with the Park on Part III:

Trescalia – Trescàlia offers guided or self-guided hiking packages, escapades and stays in nature, observation of flora, fauna, geology… Unique experiences in an exceptional territory, customized to the needs of each client and adapted for different levels of knowledge and discovery. Also offered are stays of improvement of photography technique of nature.

Nit i Vol –  Night and Flight offers an integral service of tourist services so that the meetings are a guarantee of success. It also organizes Green Meetings, events and quality and sustainable meetings.