Ente Parchi Emilia Centrale, ready for the ECST application

December 4th, Italy - 70 projects complete the dossier with which the Park Authority will present its application for the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in the Protected Areas of Central Emilia.

Final steps for the obtengion of the ECST

The final plenary forum (Rubiera - Modena - 04/12/2019) marked the end of the process that was started by Ente Parchi Emilia Centrale last April 2019 to obtain the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST), a commitment recognised at continental level and supported by EUROPARC Federation and its Italian section, Federparchi.

logo of the ECST

European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas logo - EUROPARC Federation

The idea of starting the application process started with the participation of the Management Authority in the European project CEETO, of which the Emilia-Romagna Region is the leading partner. Within it the Park Authority has prepared, for some protected areas of its territory, a five-year Action Plan and implemented two Pilot Actions to increase the knowledge and a carry out a more sustainable management of tourism flows. Central Emilia is the first "macro-area" of the Emilia-Romagna region to apply for certification for all its 8 protected areas located between the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia, which thus start, along with their territories, to obtain the important recognition and to be included among the destinations of excellence at European level.

A participatory process

In recent months, dozens of public and private stakeholders have taken part in the candidacy process, working in a vast territory that embraces different places and "tourisms": from the mountains of the Parco del Frignano to the Reserves of the Reggio Emilia and Modena plains, from the Sassi di Roccamalatina to the Hills of Matilde, up to the banks of the Fiume Secchia.

Municipal administrations, cultural and sports associations, entrepreneurs and tourism operators, promotion offices and destinations management organizations (DMOs), environmental and excursion guides, training and category bodies have been the protagonists of a proactive discussion both among themselves and with the Parks Authority. A step-by-step process that began with a shared analysis of the opportunities to be seized, useful for defining a common strategy and outlining concrete objectives to be achieved in the next five years, through an Action Plan (including those prepared within the framework of the CEETO Project), which includes no less than 70 initiatives and projects (for a total of about 12 million € of investment) carried out not only by the Authority but also and above all by the subjects who participated in the process.

Final Forum for the obtention of the ECST

Final Forum for the obtention of the ECST - Photo by Emilia Romagna Region

The final forum was the moment of approval (in the photo) and subscription of the actions that constitute the heart of the " application dossier ", already sent to the examination of the commission of EUROPARC Federation.