Final workshop for the ECST Sustainable Destination Re-Evaluation of the Biosphere Reserve Southeast Rügen 

On May 3rd 2018 local tourism representatives, members of resort administrations, majors and the Authority of the Biosphere Reserve Southeast Rügen met in Putbus for the third and last participatory workshop for the re-evaluation of the Sustainable Destination with the tool ECST (European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas). 

After a brief introduction of the ECST process by Ms. Münster, head of the Authority of the Biosphere Reserve, Prof. Dr. Rein from the "BTE Tourism and Regional Consulting" reviewed the previous two workshops and presented the starting point for the third workshop. In the practical part, the participants developed and discussed sustainable tourism measures in small working groups. The thematic focus lay on joint marketing, preservation and recreation of regional characteristics, strengthening the protected area and resources worthy of protection, increasing quality, enhancing environmental awareness, as well as improving the quality of life and strengthening small communities.

ECST sustainable destination workshop

ECST sustainable destination workshop - Photo by Southeast Ruegen UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

In a second step, the participants prioritized the actions they had just developed and chose six to be further discussed in a second working group round. These six measures included: bundled marketing, mobility concepts (such as "bus-free"), the expansion of environmental services in cooperation with tourism stakeholders, guided tours, quality and awareness of sustainability issues and the enhancement of regional gastronomy. A final discussion highlighted both opportunities and challenges in implementing the various measures. All participants agreed that sustainability must be fulfilled as a fundamental criterion.

Group discussion during the ECST sustainable destinations evaluation workshop

Group discussion during the ECST workshop - Photo by Southeast Ruegen UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

The BTE will evaluate the results of this workshop and make them available to the Authority of Biosphere Reserve for the re-certification examination as "European Charter Park for Sustainable Tourism", which will take place at the beginning of July. This report will act as the base for the CEETO Pilot Action and the CEETO Action Plan that will be implemented in the next year.