File Pan Parks nominates accomodations, attractions and packages

Contributor Herbert Hamele
Release date 22/12/2010
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Pan Parks is one of the first European certification agencies to join with the VESTAS and nominate its chosen members for a 2011 VESTA award

In this fourth focus on the VESTAS: Vision European Sustainable Tourism Awards Pan Parks introduces itself and its aims

The first VESTA winners will be announced at ITB Berlin in 2011.

Edit Borza of Pan Parks talks to Valere Tjolle of Vision on Sustainable Tourism

Valere Tjolle: Could you give me the full name of your certification and its history (when did it start? Who are the guiding team and what do they do?)
Edit Borza: PAN Parks Foundation carries out certification through independent experts. The Foundation was founded in 1997 and is a non-profit conservation organisation working on protecting Europe’s wilderness, the continent’s most undisturbed areas of nature.

Certification, that is to create a network of excellent protected areas serving as best practice examples of wilderness protection and sustainable tourism development, is a tool in its conservation work.

The team of the Foundation consists of 7 people working in different fields of expertise (conservation, communications, finance). Managing certification is part of the team’s work but is done by independent experts (with international conservation and tourism background).
For further information: verification: history:  
team of the Foundation:

Valere: What organisations are certified? Where are they? and what are they certified for?
Edit: PAN Parks provides effective third-party certification system setting an important benchmark for high standards for protected areas. The certification is based on verification carried out by independent experts, in accord with PAN Parks quality standards. There are five PAN Parks principles; covering relevant wilderness protection, social, economic and cultural aspects. Principles allow for objective verification and transparency.
PAN Parks certifies  protected areas and local businesses in/around certified PAN Parks through a local group
Being a certified PAN Park means that the protected area has high standards of management for both conservation and sustainable development and encompasses a wilderness area without human intervention on at least 10,000 ha (with another 10,000 ha surrounding this core).

A PAN Park always offers a real wilderness area with undisturbed nature while in other sections of the park it has high quality tourism facilities, well balanced with wilderness protection and sustainable local development.

Local  businesses, certified based on environmental standards and their commitment to conservation, are recognised by the PAN Parks logo.

For further information: certification criteria:
certified protected
certified local businesses:

Valere: In your view, what has your and other certification programmes achieved so far and what have they failed to achieve?
Edit: Benefits provided for protected areas:

  • Improved wilderness protection
  • Easier access to funding
  • Expertise exchange in a living network
  • Improved co-operation with rural communities
  • Tools to control and monitor tourism
  • Support in lobbying at decision makers
  • International recognition

Benefits provided for local businesses:

  • Increased collaboration in park management
  • International promotion
  • Economic benefits

The main achievement of certification in the case of the PAN Parks Foundation is an improved wilderness conservation of protected areas and through the created certified network the spreading of information on wilderness management and the more widespread use of its approaches.

However, in order to achieve this it is essential to support an improved cooperation of the park with local communities and the sustainable development of tourism – these are important tools in our conservation work.

For further information: Benefits for partners:

Valere:  Which best practices have you nominated for the VESTAS and why?
Edit: Most Sustainable and Responsible Accommodation places were picked from our local  certified business partners (described above). They were chosen from the more than 80 partners as they are the best in applying ecologically sustainable  practices.
Most Sustainable and Responsible Attractions were chosen from the the 11 certified PAN Parks (described above).

Most Sustainable and Responsible Tour Packages were chosen from those packages that are offered by our partner international tour operators that partnering with us in order to offer PAN Parks tours.

Valere:  If you had one wish – what should happen in 2011 to support your certification programme in making tourism more sustainable?
Edit: It would be great to involve more international tour operators in our partnership programme to provide more travellers the opportunity to travel to PAN Parks destinations with reliable companies thinking in line with our sustainable development concept supporting wilderness protection.

Valere Tjolle

Valere Tjolle is editor of the Sustainable Tourism Report Suite 2011 - latest news on the suite at