The DestiMED project brings together 13 marine and coastal protected areas to collectively develop, manage and promote ecotourism throughout the Mediterranean region.
Since their joigning the project, each park works with a local tourism agency to develop an ecotourism stay that can meet both the park’s sustainable development strategy and the Project DestiMED sustainability criteria. These stays are built in a participatory planning approach.
The sustainability criteria defined in DestiMED are based on work initiated under the MEET project (2013-2015), which has enabled the publication of a manual to discover the approach and help protected areas plan and strengthen ecotourism on their territory. These criteria make it possible to evaluate and improve ecotourism stays, particularly with regard to proposed activities, transport, meals, housing and even tour operation
The trips will be tested at least twice and will benefit from the advice of the project partnership and the network of ecotourism experts to improve the products.
The innovative aspect of this project relies on the calculation of the ecological footprint. Ecotourism is presented as a “green” option to traditional vacations. But how can we measure that? The Global Footprint Network is collaborating with the DestiMED project to answer this question through the development of an innovative approach to measure and reduce the environmental impact of tourism, based on the ecological footprint. Each stay can be improved according to the recommendations of ecotourism experts who have tested the stays but also following the calculation of the ecological footprint.
Two French parks, two identities
The objective of the project being to network in a harmonised approach around quality standards, an exchange meeting was organised on January 24 in Marseille, France, between the Calanques National Park and the Camargue Regional Nature Park. The main objective of this meeting was to gather the parks, the tourism agencies and the project partners to discuss ecotourism stays under development, adjust them and organise the next tests.
A meeting catering to tourism providers of the Calanques National Park stay was organised in order to federate the actors around the project and consolidate the stay.
The two French parks, located a hundred kilometers apart, share the same territory but not the same assets.
The stay developed by the Calanques Park focuses on a multisport discovery of the park, which will shed a different light on the park’s conservation activities. All tourism providers are labeled by the park (“National Park Spirit” brand). This dynamic stay mostly targets young people between 25 and 35 years old.
On the other side of the Rhône river, its neighbor emphasises the discovery of the traditional Camargue through a more cultural stay that is the link between its great natural spaces, its festive traditions, its know-how, its biodiversity. All tourism providers are labeled by the park (“Regional Natural Park Camargue” and “European Charter for Sustainable Tourism” brands). This discovery trip mostly targets a family audience.
The 2 French parks are currently putting some final touches on their stays. The first tests will take place in the spring of 2018: end of April for the Calanques National Park and beginning of June for the Camargue Regional Nature Park.
Test a stay in the spring of 2018
We are looking for ecotourism experts who would like to help us test one or more trips developed during the DestiMED project. Participants will provide comments and tips on the quality, sustainability and promotion of our stays. This spring, 10 parks will test their package between April and June 2018.
If you are interested in becoming a tester, please fill out the registration form by February 22nd.
DestiMED stays are designed to highlight the unique natural and cultural assets of Mediterranean protected areas while raising the awareness of local communities and international travelers to conservation efforts.
DestiMED is a project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.