With approximately 20 nature parks, Switzerland has extensive experience and expertise to share regarding sustainable tourism in and around national parks and protected areas. This knowledge has been attracting interest in central and eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Estonia aim to promote sustainable tourism, better manage their national and regional parks and protect biodiversity with support from the second Swiss contribution towards European cohesion.
SECO and the Swiss National Park organised a study trip to Zernez, Bern and Birmensdorf, where leading representatives from administration, science, environmental protection and business presented the latest Swiss findings and research results. They used practical examples to illustrate Swiss parks' activities and management practices, and showed ways to strike a balance between tourism and nature conservation – and where these strategies reach their limits.
Laying the foundations for Swiss partnerships
As part of Switzerland's contribution, the country is making its expertise available to support partner states in conceptualising and implementing their own programmes. While on the study trip to Switzerland, the visiting delegations were able to network with Swiss experts and lay the foundations for further discussions and longer-term partnerships. Learning from colleagues was an important pillar of the study week, as was direct exchange between the delegations. These included officials from environmental ministries, heads of national parks and other specialists.