Sharing experience in sustainable tourism development between the Centralparks and CEETO projects

The Centralparks project team is always looking forward to sharing knowledge and experience with other projects, adopting successful practices and discovering new possibilities of cooperation. That is why on 28th of July we held our second synergy meeting within the Centralparks project. This time we invited Interreg CEETO project consortium to share their challenges and achievements in sustainable tourism development in and around protected areas.

The CEETO project

CEETO stands for Central Europe Eco-Tourism: tools for nature protection. The project lasted from 01.06.2017 to 31.05.2020 and aimed at implementing an innovative governance system for tourism based on a participatory planning approach. This helped to improve the management of protected areas. Moreover, CEETO aimed at identifying and testing innovative management and monitoring tools specifically focused on sustainable tourism activities. The most important outcomes of the project were summarised in the Guidelines for developing sustainable tourism in protected areas and Manual for sustainable tourism governance for protected area managers. In addition, the CEETO project aimed to develop an international network between protected areas. They set up the CEETO Network platform, which serves as a knowledge hub and exchange platform.

The Centralparks project

The Centralparks project aims, among others, to incorporate biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the tourism development of the Carpathian region. In course of the project, a joint strategy for local sustainable tourism development (based on protection of the natural and cultural heritage) is developed, targeted at protected area administrations, local communities and municipality authorities. The objective of this strategy is to re-conciliate and integrate nature protection with local socio-economic development. While doing so, to raise support of local communities for the conservation of biological and landscape diversity in the Carpathians.

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Common topics for both projects

The CEETO and Centralparks projects have different aims and target areas, however, both of these projects analyse the topic of sustainable tourism development in and around protected areas. Both projects are dealing with vulnerable habitats exploited by unsustainable tourism, many disagreeing local stakeholders and lack of harmonised international cooperation. International cooperation between protected areas is important on regional and national levels, especially when natural values stretch through the borders. For example, the Carpathian mountain range stretches through most of the Central and Eastern European countries and ideally, the protection of valuable mountain ecosystems and management capacities of protected area administrations should be of the same level in all of the countries.

Danube-Ipoly National Park, a pilot area of the Centralparks project

During the meeting, many questions were discussed, mostly focusing on sustainable tourism development in protected areas, building international and local cooperations and sharing project outcomes with the public. The Centralparks team was delighted to have an opportunity to share arising challenges, ask questions, receive expert opinion on some of the problems and learn from the experience of the CEETO project. We are thankful for CEETO team’s time and efforts answering our questions. The synergy meeting gave us many new ideas and questions for consideration, and we will gladly keep in contact for future cooperation.  

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