When: 6-13 November 2017
Where: Kapraluv Mlyn, Ochoz u Brna, Czech Republic
During the 2016 Annual Meeting several YEE member organisations expressed their interest in exploring the topic of ecotourism. Some members even pointed out the need to further develop this type of tourism in their countries. Moreover, ecotourism was identified as a current topic and a good way to promote active citizenship among young people. We believe that ecotourism can connect different parts of communities and could therefore be an innovative approach for promoting youth participation.
Under ecotourism we understand “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”. We believe that many local communities can benefit from promoting ecotourism in their areas, especially if they are located close to natural parks and protected areas. As YEE is a youth organisation, we would like to find ways to empower young Europeans to feel more responsible for their homes and communities and to have sufficient competences to promote ecotourism and protect their homeland.
We think that working on this project of the topic of ecotourism and youth participation is especially relevant as 2017 is UN International year of Sustainable tourism and development.
Aim and objectives:
The aim of this training course is to strengthen youth participation and active citizenship through ecotourism and related projects.
- To define the role and importance of ecotourism in local communities.
- To create the common understanding about youth participation in local communities through ecotourism.
- To provide space for partners to share the experience of organising ecotourism projects with young people.
- To expand the knowledge and skills needed for organising ecotourism related projects in local communities.
- To create space for networking and building new partnerships among environmental youth organisations.
Most of the objectives have been achieved thanks to a balanced combination of formal, non-formal and informal education strategies.
- The role and importance of ecotourism in local communities were defined both through sharing sessions where participants expressed their ideas, impressions and even personal experiences and through visits to five different ecotourism realities in the area around Kapraluv Mlyn.
- The common understanding (both theoretical and practical) about youth participation in local communities through ecotourism was established through a teamwork project where participants had to develop a product or service targeting young ecotourists and meeting ecotourism standards. Moreover, during an intercultural evening, participants had the possibility to present an object, food or drink related to ecotourism practices in their country or region.
- A large space was provided to participants willing to share ecotourism practices in their countries. Two participants from Italy, two from Hungary, one from Russia and the two trainers (from Spain and Czech Republic) provided concrete examples of ecotourism projects involving young people.
- The knowledge and skills needed for organising ecotourism projects were expanded through the session “Ecotourism and heritage interpretation” held by Michal Medek where the topics of marketing strategies, ecotourism practices and youth participation were interconnected with each other.
- A large space for networking was provided to each participant. They had the possibility to present their organisation, their role within the organisation and latest projects. In the light of the genuine interests that participants showed for others`activities and the emergence of common grounds, new partnerships are likely to be built.
- Additionally, several other activities (Service and Care, bonfires, movie night, visit to caves) have supported participants in their quest to know each other, build a great team, exchange ideas and even make new friends.
- One of the main outputs is a booklet containing tools and framework on eco-tourism, specifically in the context of environmental youth work, created from this training course.