Sustainable tourism practitioners meet

15th October, 2012

EAI’s sustainable tourism network met again on Thursday 11th October in Birmingham. The focus of the day was to look at how protected landscapes in the UK are developing their relationships with tourism businesses in the context of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism. Discussion was lively and complex, yet also productive. Challenges, difficulties and successes in implementing “Part 2” were discussed and experiences shared. The wider issue of the further evolution of the Charter and its approach to business partnerships also featured in the discussions.

A further agenda item was the re-evaluation process, which a number of UK Charter Parks have already undergone. Others are in the process of submitting their paperwork. Although the process was seen by many as daunting (at least to begin with) and in some ways more work than the initial application, the opportunities it afforded for appraising work and reviewing achievements and difficulties with the help of an independent verifier were considered extremely valuable. The process helped to reaffirm commitment, enthusiasm and belief in the process.

The importance of the European dimension was also highlighted by participants as it brings greater value to the project. Indeed there was a comment that it is unusual for a UK group to be networking and discussing a European endeavour and its value and application locally. An update on the work of the EUROPARC Federation’s sustainable tourism working group was also provided.

Another meeting of the group is to be scheduled for February to further develop the work. A fuller report of the meeting will be available shortly.