arks & Benefits - Generating socio-economic effects by a sustainable management
(Parks & Benefits)
Date du début: 31 déc. 2008,
Date de fin: 23 janv. 2012
Parks & Benefits results from an initiative of protected areas in BSR who share the conviction that the protection of the natural heritage must involve a sustainable management of the natural resources. Mobilizing economic instruments for protection purposes shall benefit both the protected area and the surrounding region contributing to their socio-economic development. But up to now the economic potential is widely underestimated. Common problems are: · Lack of integrative & harmonized spatial planning strategies on linking the protected areas to the regions and getting regional stakeholders & SMEs better involved by forming public-private partnerships · Lack of joint actions to implement a management of natural environment on a sustainable basis and with socio-economic effects on the region · Compared to other European regions the BSR is lacking behind in establishing a well-functioning destination marketing on its natural assets Parks&Benefits is a network of protected areas, regional authorities, stakeholders in tourism & environment, and academic institutions in the BSR backed by EUROPARC Federation as European umbrella organization with 500 member parks in 38 countries, aiming to: · implement the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (devel. by EUROPARC Federation) as practical instrument to jointly develop, test & transfer solutions of generating socio-economic effects within protected areas of BSR benefiting regional development · develop integrative & harmonized spatial planning: linking protected areas to their regions · establish PPP between protected areas, SMEs & regional authorities · increase the quality of eco-tourism offers by a BSR quality standard · promote BSR Charter Parks via European-wide EUROPARC brand & increase the identity/recognition of BSR across Europe · to provide verified arguments in policy making & secure political commitment to nature protection. Activities. Main working fields to implement the European Charter as joint tool to guide socio-economic transformation of rural areas within BSR are: WP 1: Management & administration / WP 2: Communication & information / WP 3: Sustainable management of natural resources & BSR network of regions and protected areas / WP 4: Sustainable mobility concepts and transport alternatives within and to protected areas / WP 5: Implementation of European visitor management standards in protected areas balancing nature protection and economic utilisation. Results: strengthened cooperation of regions with protected areas on generating socio-economic benefits by a sustainable management / Increased interest in BSR natural heritage & its tourist products / Lessened problem of social exclusion in project areas implementing accessibility for all / Closing a gap by implementing the European Charter as European-wide policy at BSR level & establishing a BSR network of protected areas. Achievements: The main instrument of the Parks & Benefits project is the transfer of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas from Western and Mediterranean Europe to the Baltic Sea Region and the joint implementation in seven involved protected areas. The Charter process as well as Parks & Benefits comprises carrying capacity analyses, visitor management methods, quality development and cooperation with local tourist stakeholders and a progressive communication of substantial mutual benefits on a regional and international level. The results of the Parks & Benefits project indicate an important progress towards a qualitative improvement of protected area and regional tourism management at project level by building up a basis for strengthening relationships between park managements, tourism stakeholders and regional authorities. The Charter process at local level also revealed that the charter and tourism development provide a chance for a new look at nature protection focusing on positive actions (what can be done). It also provides a better understanding of the area as a whole for all parties who also realised a kind of puzzle-effect learning that each piece is essential to create and maintain the whole picture – a sustainable regional development. The Charter also offers to protected areas: • The opportunity to influence tourism development in the area • A higher profile in the European arena as an area devoted to sustainable tourism • An opportunity to work with and learn from other European Charter parks in a network • Public relations and awareness-raising opportunities • Helpful internal and external assessment • Greater credibility amongst potential funding partners The joint development of a socio-economic benefit monitor has further been defined as key activity providing a systematic collection of data on different scopes to be used to communicate the significance and benefits of protected areas to tourism stakeholder groups and regional authorities. It also provides a useful inventory for the protected area management and a profound basis to influence and guide the most important decisions and activities within the protected area. Comparative investigations on transportation and accessibility of the protected areas have been used to influence the Charter implementation processes of each park in terms of mobility and accessibility requirements. Two guidelines have been derived from the analyses as well as one action plan on low impact transport network systems with the ambitious task to increase the attractiveness of the region for visitors while preserving natural and cultural values. The project results will be applied in practice by the involved park representatives. Tourism forums set up within Parks & Benefits shall be established as reliable and long-lasting institutions that identify necessary actions & decide on priorities in close cooperation with park authorities.
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