The training course on “Visitors Management in Protected Wetlands – Making them the allies of conservation” was held on 24-29 July 2017 at the National Centre of Environmental Education (CENEAM), located in Valsaín (Segovia), Spain.

The course was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment (MAPAMA) by providing free accommodation, food and local transportation for all participants. The training as such, also financed by the Ministry, was provided by professors from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, an institution specialized in tourism and visitors management in protected areas. MedWet supported the travel costs of participants from Mediterranean countries that are eligible to receive development assistance.

The contents of the course were designed for planners, managers, policy makers and people working in public use issues, as they are increasingly faced with the challenges and opportunities of operating in environments where tourism is or will be a dominant factor in management.

 

Participants in the training course on visitors management held in Valsain, Spain. Photo credit: S. Fritas

 

Twenty seven participants from sixteen Mediterranean countries from both the Northern and Southern shores participated in the training course, making it a truly multicultural knowledge- and experience-sharing event.

 

Objective

The main objective of the course was to learn how to better understand, monitor and manage visitors’ use in protected areas and heritage sites, in particular wetlands, in order to maintain the quality of the resource while ensuring a satisfactory visitors experience

 

Background

Protected areas, including protected wetlands, nature reserves and national parks, constitute a key attraction for tourists around the world who wish to explore natural spaces, observe wildlife, and enjoy a positive emotional experience.

Protected areas, when managed appropriately and embedded in development strategies, provide nature-based solutions to this pressure and can become an integral component of sustainable development.

During the training course, participants had the opportunity:

  • To be exposed to many different aspects of planning and managing tourism in wetlands;
  • To acquire the knowledge, skills and tools to identify, diagnose, assess, define and apply strategies and plans to address public use and tourism issues in protected wetlands; and
  • To develop their skills in building support for wetland conservation and protection, enhancing wetland tourism, and providing socio-economic benefits to local communities.

 

Organization of the training

See the program here in PDF 

 

Training staff:

  • J. Viñals
  • M. Planelles
  • P. Alonso-Monasterio
  • T. Salathé
  • G. Beltram
  • J. C. Farinha
  • L. Teruel
  • Photographer: Marino Darés

 

Participants:

See the list of participants here.

 

The results:

At the end of the training, the main results were:

  • The participants appreciated the course. The exercises were new for the majority of them. They seemed to be very eager to apply on the ground the practical knowledge acquired during the training sessions;
  • Participants and wetland managers produced touristic maps in their Mediterranean protected wetlands containing nature trails, natural and cultural attractions, etc. These maps will be exhibited during the 13th Ramsar Conference of the Parties, (Dubai, UAE, 2018);
  • A documentary video will be produced with the images and sequences made during the course and the field visits, including the personal commitment of each participant to protect and work for wetlands; and
  • An internal exchange platform has been set up on social media in order to continue sharing information and practical experiences within their protected wetlands.

 

Next steps:

  1. MedWet and the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) will create a short questionnaire on the implementation of the training tools in December.
  2. UPV will develop the maps produced during the training in order to print a final format to be shown and presented during Ramsar COP13.
  3. MedWet is already working on future ideas and topics related to activities with Mediterranean wetland managers and the establishment of a Mediterranean Wetland Managers network.

 

More information

Read or download the presentations made during the course:

Presentations from UPV:

1. Natural Heritage
2. Cultural Heritage
3. Landscape
4. Climate
5. Facilities
6. Service providers
7. Activities & Tourist products
8. Interpretation
9. RCC
10. Communication

Powerpoint presentation by Gordana Beltram (MedWet)
Powerpoint presentation by Tobias Salathé (Ramsar Convention)

 

SEE HERE the Photo album of the training

 

 

Press release:

Press release in French

Press release in English

Press release in Spanish

Contact

Course Director, Dr Maria José Vinals

mvinals@upv.es

MedWet Secretariat

info@medwet.org