Biosphere Reserve Southeast Rügen: one step closer to be a ECST -Sustainable Destination

April 23rd 2018 - Local tourism representatives, members of resort administrations and the Authority of the Biosphere Reserve Southeast Rügen met in Lauterbach (Rügen) for the second workshop for the re-evaluation of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST) Sustainable Destination. 

In this second workshop, lead by external experts of the “BTE – Tourism and Leisure Consultancy”, the participants focused on two sets of questions. In the first part of the workshop the existing sustainability topics from the previous ECST were evaluated in small groups based on their strength, chances, weaknesses and risks. The ECST topics include nature and cultural heritage, cultural and natural tourist offers, tourism development and cooperation, environmental orientation of tourism service providers, mobility and tourism flow management, marketing of regional products, quality management, sustainability education, visitor information and visitor monitoring. In the second part, an open discussion round was created to jointly analyze the existing self-image based on the questions “who are we” and “what do we want”.

Workshop for ECST evaluation

Workshop for ECST evaluation - Photo by Authority of the Biosphere Reserve Southeast Rügen

One of the outcomes of the discussion revealed that two mission statements exist. The first, which was created during the Evaluation of the Sustainable Destination with the tool ECST focuses on the tourism sector in the Biosphere Reserve. The second was crated at a later point in time inducing all sectors and aspects of the Biosphere Reserve. The participants agreed that only one mission statement (the general one) should exist and that the tourism based mission statement needs to be kept as a “touristic self-image”. Furthermore, the workshop showed that there is a need for the local stakeholder to agree upon a definition for sustainable tourism.

Presenting at the ECST evaluation workshop

Presentation at the ECST evaluation workshop - Photo by Authority of the Biosphere Reserve Southeast Rügen

This second workshop builds an important base for the following workshop on May 3rd 2018. In this final Workshop - which will include majors, tourism service providers, partners of the Biosphere Reserve and other stakeholders - the essential measures to strengthen sustainability in tourism in the Biosphere Reserve Southeast Rügen are going to being developed and an action plan will be set up.