The program accelerates establishment of ecotourism destinations and supports the creation of a national network of ecotourism destinations in Romania. The aim of this program is to contribute to the economic development of local communities, nature conservation and local culture and development, and to position Romania as an important ecotourism destination.
Romania is one of the most biodiverse countries in Europe. The 27 national and natural parks, the Natura 2000 network and the cultural and historical heritage make this country an ideal ecotourism destination.
An ecotourism destination is a micro-region with remarkable natural and cultural assets, where sustainable tourism can be conducted, offering integrated experiences with minimal environment impact, by aggregating a network of complementary ecotourism service providers under the same common marketing and development strategy.
The areas most suitable for ecotourism are, however, among the least developed in Romania, with low revenues, no economic opportunities and, many times, jeopardized by an “industrial” approach to development: deforestation, mass tourism or other activities that place nature and the unique values of the area at risk.
In 2012, Romania was the first European country to develop a national methodology for the assessment and establishment of ecotourism destinations. Five such certified destinations have been established up to now: Zărnești-Piatra Craiului, Eco Maramureș, Țara Hațegului – Retezat, Ținutul Zimbrului, and Țara Dornelor. Other five areas focused on sustainable ecotourism: Colinele Transilvaniei, Băile Tușnad și împrejurimile, Pădurea Craiului, Mărginimea Sibiului, and the Danube Delta.
“The Development of Ecotourism Destinations in Romania” is an integrated program, developed in partnership with Fundația pentru Parteneriat (as a coordinator and strategic partner) and Asociația pentru Ecoturism din România (technical assistance partner), joined by other specialized partners.
Since March 2021, we also began a program with Asociatia “Ivan Patzaichin-Mila 23” to accelerate the development of ecotourism in Danube Delta by developing new touristic routes to less visited areas.
The program is designed as a long-term intervention and is developed along three strategic lines:
- To support local organizations in at least seven regions to capitalize on the ecotourism potential to create sustainable plans with the local leadership community to help develop the area as an ecotourism destination.
- To contribute to the public debate about ecotourism, by bringing best practices and lessons learned during the implementation of the program before decision makers.
- To communicate about and promote Romania as an ecotourism destination at the local, national, and international level
The brochure Ecodestinations – A Model of Leadership and Sustainable Local Development takes a closer look at the program, from the theory of change to the program model, recommendations and good practices, as well as case studies.
For more information about events in the ecotourism destinations, please access this link:
Infrastructure and specific services involved in local partnerships (2014-2019):
- 62 protected areas
- 84 communities
- 232 accommodation facilities
- 80 other services and small producers