The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism is understood as a management tool that works to offer a valuable and quality experience to the visitor, while safeguarding the natural and cultural values, the economic activity of the local population and their quality of life.
Maintaining accreditation requires continuous improvement; for this reason, the method requires the renewal of the accreditation for periods of five years. For each period it is necessary to write a new tourism strategy and a new action program.
The Charter is accredited by the Europarc Federation, which brings together the managers of Europe's protected natural areas. This entity is responsible for the management of the Charter.
The official handover ceremony of the renewal of the Charter will take place next May in the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park in Austria, coinciding with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the birth of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism.
In addition to La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, it will also be renewed by the natural parks of Montsant, Montgrí, Medes and Baix Ter.
Nine natural spaces accredited with the CETS in Catalonia
This work methodology has been present in the protected natural areas of Catalonia since 2001, and has been adding new spaces year after year until reaching the current nine natural spaces accredited with the CETS in Catalonia. There are currently 98 accredited spaces in Europe, distributed in 15 countries.
The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism is based on five principles:
Give priority to protection.
Contribute to sustainable development.
Involve all stakeholders.
Plan for sustainable tourism in an effective way.
Work for continuous improvement.
CETS has been recognized as a working methodology by various organizations at both European and global level: the World Tourism Organization, the Spanish Tourism Office, the German Federal Agency for Nature Protection (BFN) and the EU Commission through the former Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry.
In this sense, the protected natural areas of Catalonia are clearly committed to making sustainable tourism the model of tourism that should preside over the Catalan territory.