Wild nature has the potential to provide valuable jobs and income for people in and around the Iberian Highlands rewilding landscape. In 2023, Rewilding Spain will take steps to enhance nature-based tourism in the area.
With its dramatic canyons and sweeping pine, oak and juniper forests – as well as iconic wildlife species such as Bonelli’s eagles, griffon vultures and Iberian ibex – Rewilding Europe’s Iberian Highlands rewilding landscape in Spain has huge nature-based tourism potential. With rural depopulation leading to limited economic opportunities here, the development of a thriving nature-based economy could benefit local people enormously and encourage others to return and revitalise the area.
In a step towards enhancing nature-based tourism in the Iberian Highlands, Rewilding Spain has just joined the Sustainable Tourism Forum of the Molina-Alto Tajo region, which brings together organisations involved in sustainable nature tourism in the area. The forum is also a member of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism network, an initiative of the EUROPARC Federation which aims to promote the development of sustainable tourism in Europe’s protected areas.
“We’re delighted with this move,” says Rewilding Spain team leader Pablo Schapira. “Joining the forum is a great opportunity to spread the positive message of rewilding and establish a common rewilding vision, as well as to work together with other members of the group to achieve shared sustainable tourism objectives.”
Promoting sustainable tourism
Ensuring local people and communities benefit economically and culturally from the recovery of local wild nature is one of the pillars of the Iberian Highlands rewilding. With this in mind, Rewilding Spain will make concerted efforts to develop sustainable tourism in 2023. Such efforts will include celebrating sustainable tourism in the area, promoting the Iberian Highlands as a destination for international visitors with the support of international tour operators, helping local entrepreneurs develop and offer nature-based activities, and increasing the national and international visibility of the landscape by enhancing its wild nature.
Rewilding Spain’s membership of the Sustainable Tourism Forum was formalised at a meeting held at the Alto Tajo Natural Park Visitors Centre in the town of Corduente. It was coordinated by Alto Tajo Natural Park officials and was also attended by representatives of Geopark, the Association of Rural Development Molina de Aragón-Alto Tajo, municipalities, and companies in the tourism sector.
Representatives of the Association of Ecotourism and Active Tourism of Castilla-La Mancha, ATRAMA (Rural Tourism Association of the Region of Molina de Aragón-Alto Tajo), Rumbo Rural, and the Federation of Associations of the Region of Molina de Aragón-Alto Tajo took part in the meeting as well.