The seven Central and Eastern European countries sharing the Carpathian mountain range have agreed to jointly manage the sustainable development of tourism; a sector of fundamental importance to the region. Meeting at the 3rd Conference of the Parties to the Carpathian Convention, the countries adopted the Protocol on Sustainable Tourism, drafted by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP), which lays the foundations for a coordinated approach to tourism (Bratislava, Slovakia, May 25-27).
The Carpathians – shared by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine – are one of Europe’s largest mountain ranges and a refuge for Europe’s largest populations of brown bears, wolves, lynx, and eagles. As such, this natural haven constitutes a major tourism attraction and an important source of employment and income for local populations.
UNWTO has long been working together with UNEP to include tourism in the Carpathian Convention, as one of the most significant economic activities for the Carpathian countries. The Protocol on Sustainable Tourism, adopted during the 3rd meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Carpathian Convention, paves the way for more coordinated action between the seven countries to maximize the positive benefits of sustainable tourism for ecosystems and the well-being of people living in the Carpathians.
Regional tourism cooperation offers important opportunities for regions to position themselves on the international marketplace, while also benefiting individual destinations. Through its Consulting Unit for Tourism and Biodiversity, UNWTO will continue to provide assistance to the Carpathian States and the Interim Secretariat of the Convention, hosted by UNEP-Vienna, for the further development of sustainable tourism in the region.
UNWTO Consulting Unit on Tourism and Biodiversity: http://www.unwto.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99&Itemid=101
UNWTO Supports Regional Approach to Tourism Development in Europe: http://www.unwto.org/media/news/en/press_det.php?id=6751