The European Card of Eco-Friendly Tourism in the Protected Areas (CETS) is a certificate for the protection of nature, territory development and a form of communication between parks, local firms and tour operators.
The main aim of the Card is that all those concerned work together: if on one hand the Park Authority promotes and encourages the principles of eco-friendly tourism that the card represents, all the tourist organisations on the other hand must collaborate as much as possible.
All those who take part must do their best to create a so called "long term tourism", where Park and tourism associations work side by side; the main goals are:
The 10 goals put forward by the European Card of Eco-Friendly Tourism concern what the Park Authority, as well as the others, must encourage:
1.Work together as a team: get all those who work in the world of tourism involved in the developing and running of the protected areas.
2. Create and elaborate a strategy.
3. Safeguard and improve the natural and cultural heritage of the area through tourism and at the same time prevent inappropriate tourism.
4. Ensure tourists top quality service for their entire stay, to be put to the test by the authority and also on behalf of the tourists themselves.
5. Inform tourists as much as possible of the uniqueness of the area where they are.
6. Special, typical local products: Encourage tourists to buy local products that make the area more widely known.
7. Spread the word to all those who work with tourism about what is known of the protected area and how to make it more eco-friendly.
8. Ensure that the expenses for eco-friendly tourism in no way weigh on the shoulders of the locals.
9. Increase the benefits to the economy of the area that come from tourism.
10. Keep an eye on the number of tourists who come to the area and try to reduce any negative aspects that the number may have on the environment.
There are three steps that must be taken in order to obtain the Card:
1. Certification of the protected area
ll. Certification of the local firms in the world of tourism
lll. Certification for tour operators
In order to obtain the cerification for the protected area (step l) you must:
1) Apply to the Europarc Federation that, in collaboration with the national sections (in Italy Federparchi - Europarc Italia) handles the procedure of giving the Card and coordinates the network of the protected areas.
2) Create and run Forums (work tables) with the partners with which the Park collaborates when giving the Card.
3) Set up a Diagostic Report with the aim of learning more about the natural, touristic, social and economical aspects of the area.
4) Establish a 5-year plan of action with the Forum.
5)Obtain a positive assessment from the Europarc Federation as regards the work underway and the Plan of Action, both of which must be carried out by all those who have applied for the Card.
Once the Park Authority has gained recognition by the Charter Park, it will have to carry out the Plan of Action, constantly register the results obtained, and send them to the European Commission for assessment
The Card is valid for five years and can be renewed.
Those areas that have been granted the Card may, if they wish, move on to STEPS ll and lll of the Card; this will enable them to go beyond not just having to involve those who work with tourism but also granting them recognition for each owner of a Card.
In 2016 the Tuscan Archipelago National Park has started the procedure of obtaining the European Card of Eco-Friendly Tourism (step l) and is awaiting assessment on behalf of the Europarc Federation. The official ceremony will be held at the European Parliament in Brussels in December.For further information concerning at what point the assessment for the CETS is on behalf of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park click here >