Integrating nature tourism with coastal dune conservation in Lithuanian Coastal Region
The World Heritage sites and the Biosphere Reserve Areas are cultural and natural heritage sites/areas pointed out by UNESCO as having outstanding, universal value and as role models for sustainability. However, tourism on the Curonian Spit is to a large extent unsustainable in terms of unbalanced seasonal patterns. As parts of larger destinations, the UNESCO World Heritage landscapes like the mobile dunes on the Curonian Spit can function as catalysts for a sustainable development where local businesses and local communities can gain opportunity from the diversification. In the presented good practice, local stakeholders aim to jointly develop and establish a relevant strategy and an accompanying action plan for the mobile dunes as a nature tourism ‘honey pot’, and to test and implement a variety of already-existing tools as well as trying to develop new tools that are currently missing. The activity focuses on three areas: 1) stakeholder dialogue; 2) product and service development; and 3) governance.
The UNESCO recommendations for sustainable tourism exist, but they are not implemented, some not even tested. In order to go ahead with the sustainable tourism development process on the Curonian Spit, local stakeholders need an external expertise and facilitated sharing of mutual experience.
150 thousand €
Evidence of success
The evidence of success of the good practice is in the cluster which is currently developed integrating the Curonian Spit national park and Neringa seaside resort under the umbrella concept/brand "World Heritage and Friends". The main serendipitous positive result from the presented good practice is that there are many unexplored opportunities in the protected areas, particularly the ones designated as World Heritage sites, for a high-class sustainable tourism development, notwithstanding season
Potential for learning or transfer
Although the highlighted good practice is rather unique for World Heritage landscapes, nevertheless its potential for learning and/or transfer is high. The key points of learning are related to a careful planning of an action strategy, a stakeholder involvement from the very beginning, and a critical approach towards a prevailing outlook on the heritage landscape conservation principles.
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