Designed for entrepreneurs involved in guiding, hospitality and tourism, Rewilding Europe’s pioneering, three-stage Rewilding Training Tourism programme aims to professionalise and scale up nature-based tourism across Europe.
Promotion and professionalisation
Rewilding not only works to recover wild nature and natural processes but to ensure that people benefit from that wild nature too. One of the ways this can happen is through nature-based tourism, which can sustain livelihoods and provide rural communities with an invaluable source of income. Such tourism is developing in all of Rewilding Europe’s operational areas.
With this in mind, Rewilding Europe (through the European Safari Company) has just launched a three–stage Rewilding Training Tourism programme, aimed at developing and upskilling the guiding and hospitality segment of Europe’s nature-based tourism sector. The first stage, which began on October 28 with the first instalment of a webinar series (the second webinar took place on November 4), was attended by 40 participants from 12 European countries. These included a number of Rewilding Europe enterprise and field officers, as well as guides, small tour operators and hotel owners.
“To kick off the world’s first-ever rewilding-related nature-based tourism training programme is really exciting,” says European Safari Company Operations Manager Aukje van Gerven, who helped to develop the programme and moderated the first webinar. “It will add significant value to the businesses of those involved and promote rewilding and rewilding best practice across Europe.”
The first webinar, which saw participants receive an introduction to rewilding by Rewilding Europe Managing Director Frans Schepers, followed by a series of presentations by nature-based tourism expert and owner of Nature Tourism Development Simon Collier, received a wide range of positive feedback.
“This was such an interesting first event,” says Spaniard Fernando Abarquero, who runs ProNatura, a nature-based tourism company based in the Picos de Europa National Park in the Cantabrian Mountains. “We have started a rewilding initiative in the heart of the park and this training will be really valuable.”
“The set-up of the first webinar was great,” adds Fredrik Broman, a Swedish Lapland-based photographer who is also co-owner of Aurora Safari Camp and The Outpost Lodge (two accommodations offered through the European Safari Company). “This training is a fantastic way to create real change and really strengthen Europe’s community of nature-based entrepreneurs.”
The Rewilding Training Tourism programme comprises three stages – each of these includes an assessment and a “rewilding certificate” for those who pass. The first stage, which consists of five webinars, is being held in October and November 2020, and again in January and February 2021 (the same webinar series but with different participants). The second stage, which involves field training in the Central Apennines rewilding area in Italy, will take place in March and April 2021. Dates for the third stage (high-touch service and further training for highly qualified guides), which will also take place in the Central Apennines, will be announced soon. Both the second and third stages will take place over five days.
The five webinars of the programme’s first stage will cover a wide range of topics, including an introduction to nature-based tourism, rewilding, hospitality, engaging nature and local partnerships across diverse landscapes, and nature-based economies. It will incorporate rewilding best practice and give participants a unique opportunity to learn from partners and experts from other European areas.
With the Rewilding Training Tourism programme currently in launch phase, participation in the first webinar series was restricted to those working in nature-based tourism in one of Rewilding Europe’s operational areas or an area where the European Safari Company is active, partners (or potential partners) of Rewilding Europe, or those involved in the European Rewilding Network.
The second webinar series in January and February is open to all those with connections to rewilding, as well as interested businesses and individuals. The European Safari Company is now accepting applications for this series (a limited number of places are still available), which is being offered at a reduced introductory price of 125 euros (as opposed to the full price of 200 euros). The cost for the second and third stages of the programme will depend on availability and interest.
Those interested in applying for the second webinar series should e-mail Aukje van Gerven (firstname.lastname@example.org) outlining why this training would be beneficial to themselves and their business.