The Casa de la Cultura of Valdoviño hosted this afternoon the presentation of the Tourism Sustainability Strategy in Destination of the Cape Ortegal Geopark Project. It was a public event attended by the vice-presidents and responsible for Tourism of the Xunta de Galicia and the Diputación de A Coruña, Alfonso Rueda and Xosé Regueira, as well as the mayoress and mayors of the seven promoting town councils and representatives of the social and economic structures of the project area. The plan, estimated at 3.8 million euros, includes 40 actions for the three-year period 2022-24 that contribute to structuring and establishing in the territory a destination that attracts quality tourism – focused on geology and nature -, fulfilling both the sustainable development objectives of the UN and the priority axes that will give access to the Next Generation recovery funds, mainly those referring to green and sustainable transition, energy efficiency, digital transition and competitiveness. In this sense, during this morning’s public event, the commitment of the different Administrations – Diputación de A Coruña, Xunta de Galicia and town councils integrated in the Association for the management of the Cape Ortegal Geopark – to create a sustainable and differentiated tourist product that is also a driving force for the socio-economic development of the area was made clear.
The current president of the association of municipalities, Alberto González, contextualised the Tourism Sustainability Strategy as a Destination in relation to the project with which the Cape Ortegal area aspires to become a UNESCO Global Geopark due to its “internationally recognised” geological exceptionality and a comprehensive development programme on which “we have been working for years”. González pointed out that obtaining the Global Geopark distinction would be a recognition “of the same category as a World Heritage Site”.
However, beyond the geological values, the Valdoviño councillor also described the territorial and social reality of an area which covers 7 municipalities, 631 square kilometres and 27,683 inhabitants, and that currently requires a change of dynamics towards more sustainable, innovative and higher added value activities. As he said after the presentation ceremony, the PSTD (Tourism Sustainability Strategy as a Destination by its initials in Spanish) “is a great opportunity to have the necessary resources to develop our project. We have the territory, the landscape, we have the geology, but this has to be also connected to tourism and economics”.
González insisted that the aim is to turn this territory into an internationally recognised destination thanks to the enhancement of the exceptional geological, natural, cultural, productive and social resources it has, while taking the opportunity to highlight the wealth of the primary sector of the region – both seafaring and farming – as well as the importance of Santo André de Teixido as a unique and structuring element, a place of pilgrimage, and the second most important sanctuary in Galicia in terms of visits, after Compostela.
For his part, the vice-president of the Diputación de of A Coruña and responsible for Tourism, Xosé Regueira, pointed out that the project presented by his department to the Tourism Sustainability Strategy in Destinations has a budget of 3.8 million euros and includes 40 actions structured in 4 programmatic axes of work: green and sustainable transition, energy efficiency, digital transition and competitiveness. As Regueira explained, these 40 actions are connected through a global strategy for tourism and territorial development framed within the UNESCO World Geopark candidacy, whose objective is to promote a sustainable development model that dynamises, de-seasonalises and de-concentrates the destination’s tourism supply and demand.
The provincial head of Tourism said that “now we have to be smart enough to be able to capture the tourist of the new era, of the new paradigm, who is a conscious tourist, who seeks the authenticity of the territories he visits, and who looks for a differentiated and well cared natural and cultural heritage”.
The first vice-president of the Xunta, Alfonso Rueda, commented at the end of the event that the Tourism Sustainability Strategy in Destination for the seven municipalities presented by the Diputación “fits with the spirit of the Next Generation and with the promotion of the coastline that we want to do in this first phase of the European funds” since, he said, “it represents everything that will be sought from now on: nature tourism, enhancement of natural resources, areas not so exploited for tourism and which therefore have a lot of projection. We are delighted that this project has arrived at a time when it can be financed”.
The content of the plan
The PSTD of the Cape Ortegal Geopark Project is focused on the design and implementation of a specialized tourist product through four main areas of work: the improvement of knowledge, conservation and enhancement of the unique resources of the territory, promoting a sustainable and responsible tourist use; the proper management, implementation and evaluation of the actions of the Plan with maximum social participation; the dynamization, increase and improvement of the tourist offer of the territory, promoting a sustainable and responsible tourist use.
of the territory, promoting a sustainable and responsible tourist use; the adequate management, execution and evaluation of the actions of the Plan with the maximum social participation; the dynamization, increase and improvement of the tourist offer of the territory, adapted to the characteristics of the geoparks and their target public; and, finally, the implementation of actions that attract and take care of the visitors to achieve a multiplying and deseasonalizing effect.
These four areas are translated into the 40 specific actions to be developed in the period 2022-2024 and which, in summary, aim to prepare the territory in terms of infrastructure and services to serve the main markets targeted by this tourism proposal: geotourism and nature tourism and ecotourism as main segments, adding active and sports tourism activities in natural environment (hiking, mountain biking, surfing, diving, sailing, paragliding, sporting events…) and those linked to local products (gastronomic tourism, handicrafts), without forgetting cultural tourism and the promotion of tangible and intangible heritage (festivals, fairs, markets…).
The execution of the Tourism Sustainability Plan in Destination is budgeted at 3.8 million euros in the document submitted to the Xunta and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for its evaluation. Both the Provincial Council of A Coruña and the association of municipalities expect that the final amounts to be received by each of the nine sustainability plans -including the Cape Ortegal Project- which, in principle, will benefit in Galicia from this extraordinary call of the Next Generation will be resolved shortly.