The summer tourist season is almost over, and it has again brought many people from Europe and elsewhere to the Alps and their protected areas. Their nature experience has without doubt not been the same for everyone: some might have experienced overcrowded places and traffic, whereas others have found energizing calm and wilderness. The management of tourism and visitor flows, but also the development of more sustainable ways of tourism in the Alps, is at the heart of many of the activities of protected area managements today. Their aim is to find a balance between tourism activity (also for sustaining the regional economy) and nature protection, definitely not an easy task as it is also a question of regional governance.
Since the beginning of the year, in the frame of the Destination Parks project, ALPARC has been working on a joint position of parks and protected areas with regard to tourism - a common vision of a concrete and communicable “protected area tourism” for the Alps. After a review of existing work and material on nature-based and protected area tourism, ALPARC is now organizing a set of local events that should help enhance and clarify the vision and future objectives of ALPARC on this topic. A first workshop will take place on October 8th and 9th in the Queyras Regional Nature Park (France). Before the end of the year, ALPARC will organize further events in Austria (November) and Switzerland (December) as well as a panel of experts who will help to develop the vision from a broader viewpoint.
ALPARC is carrying out the Destination Parks project with the support of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (CH).