Ecotourism in Romania - from concept and EETLS to regional sustainable development


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Author: Andrei Blumer (Association of Ecotourism in Romania)
Plenary session presentation
2nd European Ecotourism Conference
23-25 October 2013, Romania

Published in: Education, Travel, Technology

Ecotourism in Romania - from concept and EETLS to regional sustainable development

  1. 1. Ecotourism in Romania - from concept and EETLS to regional sustainable development The Association of Ecotourism in Romania
  2. 2. About AER Established in 2003AER has achieved a partnership for nature conservation and tourism between the tourist industry (tour-operatours, guesthouses) and organisations acting in nature conservation (NGOs, protected areas, local authorites, consultants, local individuals). 52 members & 4 partners: • 3/5 privat sector (e.g. tur-operatours, guesthouses, guides); • 1/5 entities based on nature conservation (e.g. NGOs likeWWF, CAPDD Bihor, Mioritics Association, ADEPT Foundation etc.)
  3. 3. I am going to talk about... 1. Concepts: ecotourism and destination 2. Romanian case study: ecotourism destinations.
  4. 4. Positioning ecotourism? Nature based tourism Ecotourism Urban tourism Rural tourism (Agrotourism) Sustainable tourism Seaside tourism
  5. 5. Ecotourism: major components • Contributes to biodiversity conservation • Contains interpretative and educational features • Implies responsible tourist behavior • Low environmental impact • Local participation, ownership • Performed by small locally owned enterprises • Sustains the well-being of local people situated in the rural area, close to a protected area A Slow Down experience!
  6. 6. “Slow down” concept tuned for ecotourism destination • More days spent in a destination by less people! • Wise money spending by guests on local services ! • Quality time through a learning nature and culture experience! • More local beneficiaries out of tourism in the destination! • Responsible product and destination management are adapted to the targeted market segments! The protected area becomes the core value of the destination in marketing and “slowing down” experiences!
  7. 7. Ecotourism criteria in Europe and Romania Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) European EcoTourism Labeling Standard (EETLS) Ecotourism Destination Criteria Romania National Tourism Authority Initiative AER initiative
  8. 8. Micro-regions in the process of becoming ecotourism destinations Mara Maramures Tara Dornelor Calimani Padurea Craiului Apuseni Tusnad – Sfanta Ana Tarnava Mare Hartibaciu Tara Hategului Retezat Tara Branului – Piatra Craiului Macin & N Dobrogea Danube Delta
  9. 9. Ecotourism destination = The protected area and the (surrounding) local communities that adopted a responsible and integrated local policy based on ecotourism
  10. 10. Developing the concept and criteria for ecotourism destination in Romania 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. A clearly defined micro-region that has at least one protected area; A minimum set of tourism services (e.g. 50 beds, medical care, bank, etc.); The existence of a DMO managed by the partnership between the administration of the protected area, business sector and local authorities; A responsible approach towards the environmental ,social and cultural components of the destination; The existence of a critical mass of green businesses; Good premises for visitors’ satisfaction with a high quality information and interpretation infrastructure; A holistic image of the destination that integrates the images of the protected area and that of the local communities.
  11. 11. Criteria and destination evaluation • Developed and implemented by the partnership among National Tourism Authority, National Research and Development Institute, Environment Ministry and AER. Criteria: 1. Pre-conditions; 2. Destination management; 3. Maximise social and economic benefits to local communities and minimise negative impacts; 4. Maximise benefits to cultural heritage and minimise negative impacts; 5. Maximise benefits to the environment and minimise negative impacts.
  12. 12. Ecotourism destinations evaluation process • First three micro-regions entered the evaluation process to be officially recognized as ecotourism destinations; • Six more regions are on the waiting list for evaluation; • National Tourism Authority and AER are preparing a set of marketing opportunities for these destinations.
  13. 13. Eco-Romania Certification System • Established in 2006; • Addresses to 2 categories of applicants: • Tours provided by tour-operators (max. 15 participants); • Small-scale accommodation facilities in rural & natural areas (max. 25 rooms);
  14. 14. What’s in & the future? Discover Eco-Romania forZenith Map Collection for destinations •Sighisoara – Tarnava Mare •Tara Branului • Agreement on the ecotourism destination concept? •Postavaru – Poiana Brasov •Tara Hategului – Retezat • A common European platform for (developing &) •Valea Ariesului marketing •Zona Piatra Craiului the ecotourism destinations and their related responsible products? •Baile Tusnad and the surroundings •Tara Dornelor
  15. 15. Ecotourism in Europe = A Slow Down experience related with responsible, small scale products in the micro-regions of protected areas
  16. 16. Thank you for your attention! Andrei Blumer The Association of Ecotourism in Romania (AER)