In 2013, the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park became one of Europe's Europarcs and as such, part of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism program. This, in turn, raised the international importance for nature tourism in the region.
The charter park development project, which brings together nature tourism and entrepreneurs in the development of sustainable nature tourism in protected areas. The project has been in existance for 15 years.
Read more about Charter project's final report(pdf, 573 kb)
The National Association of Sustainable Tourism Program
The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism is a practical management tool which helps protected areas to continuously improve the sustainable development and the management of tourism, taking account of the needs of the environment, the local population and the local tourism businesses.
The Charter is not a typical quality or eco-label but a process-oriented methodology that can be used and applied by all kinds of protected areas. The Charter's focus is on initiating and assisting a process of sustainable tourism planning which will lead to step-by-step sustainable development. The Charter assists this process by providing a 'strategy development kit' which contains principles, a methodology and check-lists for the protected areas to work with. The implementation of the Charter methodology increases the awareness of and support for European protected areas.
The European Charter Network: Working in partnership
Since the first seven protected areas signed the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Area in 2001, the European Charter Network has grown significantly. The European Charter Network now includes c. 119 protected areas within thirteen European countries and there is a growing number of local tourism businesses who have become Charter partners, including local and regional government authorities, NGOs and many more. Recognizing the value of the charter-process for sustainable regional development, an increasing number of Charter Candidate protected areas is engaging in the Charter process. Every month new parks are submitting their application documents and starting the process.
The documents "The Charter", "How to join the journey" and the application form are now not only available in English but also in Italian, Spanish, French and German. The translation and design was made possible due to the generous support of TUI - Touristik Union International.
Sharing experience and knowledge through networking is one of the main aims of the Charter. This includes regular Charter network meetings, exchanges and study visits.
Taking the European Charter forward
As well as the EUROPARC Federation there are currently a wealth of people and several projects working to keep the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism current and to develop it further...
EUROPARC Consulting are responsible for the administrative side of the Charter.
EUROPARC Sustainable Tourism working group are providing expertise on projects and Charter activities.
Evaluation Committee and verifiers are responsible for the process of awarding Charter areas.
EUROPARC Sections all work to take the Charter forward in their countries or regions.