DestiMed Calanques testThe DestiMED project brings together 13 marine and coastal protected areas to develop, manage and collectively promote ecotourism throughout the Mediterranean region.

In France, the Calanques National Park was selected in 2017 to integrate the DestiMED park network and develop an ecotourism project locally.

The Calanques National Park has opened the spring test since it is the second park to have tested its package, after the Ebro Delta Park in Spain. The package developed by the Calanques National Park and the local tour operator (Provence Evasion) was tested for the first time from 26 April to 1 May. The group consisted of 6 testers from Spain, Italy and France.

On 27 April, MedPAN hosted the testers and their guide at its premises. This visit was an opportunity to meet the group, to present them the background of the DestiMED project, as well as the new video of the project (below) but also to meet some members of the Secretariat of the Interreg Med Programme, that finances the project. After interesting exchanges, the group went on towards the continuation of their programme of discovery of Marseille and the Park.

« Explore a land of high contrasts »

Hosting more than 200 protected species, Calanques is a biodiversity hotspot and home to breathtaking landscapes, where steep limestone cliffs (the so called “Calanques”) cascade into the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The national park also includes preserved islands, inhabited by thousands of marine birds.

During the 6-day test, participants were able to experience the diversity and particularity of the Calanques, the only peri-urban national park in Europe. This trip focused on the discovery of the park through multi-sport activities, so as to shed a different light on the park’s conservation activities, as well as on the history and culture of the Calanques.

This dynamic package targets young people between 25- and 35-years old. In the first part of the stay, the participants were housed in a youth hostel in Marseille. They then joined an isolated refuge in the heart of the Park. During their stay, the participants tested various activities such as kayaking, hiking, climbing (rappel and via cordata), snorkeling and electric mountain biking. The first feedback from the testers is very positive. The Calanques package flyer contains more details.

Gilles Chappaz, in charge of tourism at the Parc, and Philippe Chabot, representing the local tour operator, will now work on the improvement of the package on the basis of the recommendations of the participants in this first test in order to prepare the next test which will take place autumn 2018.

DestiMED is a project of the Interreg Med programme co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.