A Participatory Planning Approach for Ecotourism Development

DestiMED PLUS launched its training for the pilot actions in the project on the 1st of June 2020.

This training was originally planned as a face-to-face training workshop for May 2020, however DestiMED PLUS project partners took the decision to convert it into a three-module online training programme, due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel. 

The first module was on Ecotourism Governance and was aimed at supporting destinations at establishing Local Ecotourism Clusters. The training ran from the 1 -18 of June 2020 and brought together a total of 36 trainees including project partners, protected area staff and regional partners from each of the 9 Pilot Actions in the project. The module was made up of a series of live webinars organised by IUCN Med and led by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia Department for the Environment and WWF Mediterranean, with guest speakers from E.C.O Institute of Ecology and Colline Metallifere Tuscan Mining Geopark. The learnings from these webinars were then supported by a selection of readings, exercises and quizzes using the Google Classroom platform. 

The main objective of this module was to train  Protected Areas on how to establish a  functional Local Ecotourism Cluster (LEC) aligned with MEET standards. A LEC is a group  of public, private and third sector ecotourism stakeholders working together to develop ecotourism products and is central to the MEET Network approach to ecotourism development. The project partners applied theoretical and practical elements in the module to train the pilot actions on participatory and cross-sector collaboration processes, how to engage stakeholders and set up the LEC and how to ensure the LEC is effective and runs smoothly. 

¨Very helpful and it provided us with useful information on how to proceed with our stakeholders engagement¨ - South Aegean Region

The training was put into practice by the different pilot actions establishing Local Ecotourism Clusters in several destinations where previously there were no cross-sector destination management structures in place. This includes project sites as the Protected Area of North Karpathos and Saria Island in Rhodes, Greece and Cres- Lošinj Marine Protected Area in Croatia. 

For further updates on the training make sure you are following our #DESTIMEDPLUS updates on MEET Network social media channels!