Tourism is a very important activity for our territory, for Tuscany and for Italy. If not managed with the right attention, it can become one of many pressure factors on our environment. Globally, according to a conservative estimate by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UN WTO), the share of tourism-related emissions is between 8 % and 13 % of global climate-changing gas emissions. The Parco delle Colline Metallifere UNESCO Geopark and Park European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas certified by Europarc Federation, is committed to Sustainable Tourism, ecotourism and responsible tourism since its establishment.
Sustainable tourism is tourism that pays attention to reducing emissions of climate-changing gases and pollutants. This can also be done in the city, just with some attention (good examples are the tourist products in Malmö in Sweden and in Freiburg or Hamburg in Amsterdam or Copenhagen in Germany). In our territory, Follonica belongs to the network of cities that have signed the Covenant of Mayors for the reduction of emissions and is part of the Italian green city network. Worth a visit, among other things, is a residential district featuring houses built with almost zero impact. Our territory is also characterised by the production of energy from low-impact sources, thanks to geothermal energy.
Eco-tourism is the “advanced” interpretation of Sustainable Tourism, which takes place in Protected Areas and Parks. Maximum attention must be paid to reducing impacts, especially with outdoor activities in protected areas.
Responsible tourism is tourism that pays special attention to local culture, society and economies and that is achieved through decent and green jobs. These are three approaches to tourism that the territory of the Metalliferous Hills Park supports and are a central focus of the European and worldwide network of UNESCO Geoparks and of the CETS Europarc Protected Areas (European Charter for Sustainable Tourism).
In order to work specifically on ecotourism, the Park, thanks to its participation in the Interreg DestiMED project, is part of the MEET network – Mediterranean Experiences of Eco-Tourism – coordinated by IUCN.
With our various tourism and excursion proposals we strive to reduce our impact and that of visitors and tourists. For the promotion and marketing of eco-tourism products, the Park has selected, through a public selection process open to local Tour Operators, an official Park Tour Operator. It is Travel Today, which has been active in incoming travel for years and has a strong orientation towards sustainability. Each proposal in the online catalogue www.visitmaremma.net, sees the commitment of all service providers to reducing our environmental impact.
For example, we do not support the use of disposable plastics and offer alternative solutions. We largely use products and services from local, sustainability-conscious companies. We plant trees to compensate for CO2 emissions and the cars of many of the Park’s businesses are driven according to eco-driving principles, which save between 5 and 20 % in fuel consumption and emissions. We also organise waste collection days and #TrekkAndClean trail and beach cleaning with guides, locals and tourists.
Contributions for ecosystem services. What are they?
Nature gives us clean air and water, healthy and fertile soil, forests, woods, rivers, seas and many other habitats rich in biodiversity. All these resources are now called ecosystem services. They are the services, necessary for our lives, that Nature offers us every day, free of charge. We are committed to ensuring that the human activities that take place within the territory of the Parco delle Colline Metallifere and the tourism proposals of visitmaremma.net have as little negative impact as possible. One of the ways is to include in the price of the proposed tourism products a small fee that will be used for projects to study, rehabilitate and/or enhance geosites, biotopes, endangered or threatened species and habitats. Included in the price of the trip or experience, you will therefore find a small contribution for ecosystem services. We are pleased to be among the first in Europe to activate this mode.