Quality systems

European Charter for Sustainable Tourism

The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECST) is an initiative of the EUROPARC Federation, whose overall objective is to promote the development of sustainable tourism in Europe's protected natural spaces. ECST reflects the willingness of protected areas, local stakeholders, and representatives of the tourism sector to promote tourism in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.

"Sustainable tourism" is defined as "performance of any type of tourism related development, equipment or activity, which in the long term respects and preserves natural, cultural and social assets, and contributes positively and equitably to economic development and prosperity of the people that work or stay in protected areas".

The principles of sustainable tourism in the protected natural areas of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism are as follows:

  • Involve all tourism-related parties from the protected and surrounding areas, in the development and management of the protected area.
  • Develop and implement a sustainable tourism strategy and action plan for the protected area.
  • Protect and improve the natural and cultural heritage of the area, both for tourism and through tourism, while protecting it from excessive tourism development.
  • Offer a high quality experience to visitors in all aspects.
  • Provide proper information to visitors about the special qualities of the area.
  • Boost specific tourism products that facilitate discovery and understanding of the area.
  • Promote knowledge about protected areas and sustainability to tourism-related stakeholders.
  • Ensure that tourism improves, and does not reduce, the quality of life of the local population.
  • Increase the benefits from tourism in favour of the local economy.
  • Monitor and track visitor flows to reduce potential negative impacts.

Click here for more information.

Sistema de calidade
Sistema de calidade

Starlight tourist destination

The Galician Atlantic Islands National Park was declared a STARLIGHT tourist destination in 2016 by the Starlight foundation, in recognition of the quality of its skies, its commitment to preservation of its low light conditions and the presence of tourism initiatives related to contemplation of the sky as an essential part of nature.

Artificial light is one of the best inventions of humanity, but misuse of artificial light can cause a very negative effect, especially in natural spaces, where a large number of living beings are nocturnal and require night darkness.

Inopportune artificial light can interfere with metabolism, reproduction, displacements, migrations, competition between predators and prey, etc.

Artificial light dramatically changes the rules of the game of life by making it difficult to see the stars, thus depriving us of a rich intangible cultural heritage associated with a starlit sky.

Increasingly fewer zones in Galicia today are free from the invasion of artificial light. The Galician Atlantic Islands Marine-Terrestrial National Park is one such privileged clear sky area that allows one to gaze at stars and appreciate the richness of its natural values at night.

Increased lighting in coastal areas endangers this immense cultural and natural heritage. Light coming from the coast directly affects the islands and alters the quality of their nights.

Excessive light, emitted in the wrong direction or with an incorrect hue is a danger to the preservation of natural nights. This warrants urgent action to preserve this heritage for all citizens, by correcting aggressive lighting in our cities and towns, sustainably using light in the islands, modifying inadequate facilities, promoting scientific research on light pollution, fostering educational and outreach activities, and helping thousands of people discover the wonders of their skies.

Click here to download the Starlight tourist activities brochure (link to starlight brochure)

Click here for more information on the Starlight Foundation

Sistema de calidade
Sistema de calidade