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Sustainable Tourism in Estuary Parks (STEP)
Start date: Jun 30, 2008, End date: Jun 29, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Partners in STEP aim to tackle the environmental concerns faced by estuaries, such as industry, climate change, rising sea levels and decreased agricultural usage, by developing sustainable tourism in those areas.The partnership brings together a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field of the development and management of nature, tourism and education in water-rich nature reserves. Because environmental issues affect countless European estuaries, partners have chosen crossborder cooperation to find adequate solutions and to implement the European Charter for sustainable tourism. Over the course of the project, the sustainable concept will become tangible as the project produces a handbook for sustainable facilities, an action-plan for branding sustainable tourism, an action-plan for visitors management in estuarine nature, new visitors management tools and publishes study reports. Expected Results: What are the key results of the project?Studies and plans-action plans for promoting sustainable tourism; website and a green destination guide-reports on the visitor surveys, workshops, peer reviews, designs/technical specifications for sustainable amenities- development of visitor management plan in Polders of Kruibeke- report on the feasibility study carried out into public-private cooperation in the Polders of Kruibeke- concepts for involving inhabitants, visitors and companies: visitor pay back systems-(re)submitting applications of The Biesbosch and The Broads to obtain the EU Charter- participation plans for involving new target groups- proposals for the usage of new ICT technologies at visitors' centres, for routes and on location- economic valuation of tourism and improvement plans for the visitors' centres in The Broads and de BiesboschEducation and Training resources- information and education programs concerning themes as climate, biodiversity and safety- monitoring programs and report on the initial measurement (baseline measurement)- new nature experience and package programs for De BiesboschSustainable tourism resources for companies- company checks for Green Key and Green Tourism Business Scheme- concept for new Quality Charters in The Broads- manual and checklists for carrying out company checks and supporting tourist companies to become more sustainablePilots-small scale investments; (cycle) paths, camp sites, hiking shelters, observation decks, signposting, fishing infrastructure, electric charging stations and ferry links- GPS-routes- new public-private cooperation in de Biesbosch- development and promotion of new sustainable products and services- new cooperations with companies in The BroadsAre all partners and territories benefitting from the results?Target groups which will and already have experience a direct, positive effect from the executed actions are; nature organisations: Staatsbosbeheer and Agentschap voor Bos en Natuur; nature and recreation authorities: Parkschap NP De Biesbosch and The Broads Authority; water managers: Waterwegen en Zeekanaal; municipalities: Dordrecht, Drimmelen, Norwich, Kruibeke, Rupelmonde, Basel; provinces: Zuid-Holland and Noord-Brabant, Antwerpen, Norfolk and Suffolk as well as the tourist industry in and around De Biesbosch, The Broads and the Polders of Kruibeke.End beneficiaries of this project are; the inhabitants and neighbours of the three areas; visitors: ramblers, cyclists, water-based sports enthusiasts, fishermen, etc.; companies: bars, restaurants, hotels, camp sites, bicycle and boat rental companies, suppliers; visitor centres and museums in the areas as well as the particularly hard to reach target groups such as young people, minorities and the handicapped.All of the above mentioned target groups, end beneficiaries and of course also all involved territories benefit from the activities carried out and the investments made aimed at making the three areas more accessible, the tourist infrastructure is expanded, improved digital information provision is created, explanations of nature and landscape are improved, it becomes possible to enter the area on board electrically driven vessels and simple accommodation is created. Companies and museums will benefit from more visitors, sustainable amenities, the improved branding and marketing of the areas and better public-private cooperation.What are the effects / outcomes for the territories involved?In the Biesbosch more companies will work sustainably. The area will be more accessible for visitors using electric boats, bicycle or hiking. An important effect is the intensified cooperation between companies. The area will be used more sustainably by visitors and inhabitants, so impacts on nature and landscape will decrease.In the Polder of Kruibeke the access-plan and the design of the northern reception site will give local people more possibilities to meet, recreate in different ways and enjoy the nearby nature area in a safe and modern manner without jeopardizing the nature and safety goals of the area. Through access-plans, locals will be able to enjoy their backyard again without jeopardizing nature. Economic opportunities for the local area will be created, as the Polders of Kruibeke becomes more known to tourists.In the Broad more companies will work sustainably and become Green Tourism Business Scheme companies. The area will be more accessible for visitors using electric boats. More information will be available for special interest groups (climate and biodiversity) and for difficult to reach target groups. The area will be used by visitors and inhabitants in a more sustainable way and negative impacts on nature and landscape will decrease.In all areas of the project, the information about the area, nature, landscape and facilities will be improved by digital information in visitor centres, on locations, on websites, smart phones, brochures etc.
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  • 41.8%   2 528 795,00
  • 2007 - 2013 2 SEAS (FR-UK-BE-NL)
  • Project on KEEP Platform
Project Website

4 Partners Participants