Today, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) will award the first Village+ Sustainable Development European Label. This label is aimed at supporting and promoting the territories in Europe which have adopted a proactive strategy in favour of environmentally-friendly tourism. The goal is also to encourage European citizens to discover specific regional identities in a sustainable way.
The Regional Development Council of Lake Tisza (Hungary) is the first to be awarded this label.
Thomas Carlsson, the AER Coordinator for Sustainable Quality Tourism, stated today on the occasion of the official award ceremony: ‘We particularly appreciate the involvement of all the partners of the Council of Lake Tisza in this project, though activities such as the ‘Paloc thematic tourist route’ or the ‘Lake Tisza Eco-centre’. More than 150 local actors from natural and cultural heritage, crafts and the tourism industry, worked hand in hand on sustainable development and have offered a place of unique environmental quality for tourists. The citizens of the entire territory were also fully involved in the project.’ The AER has therefore decided that the Council of Lake Tisza truly deserves to be awarded this label.
This Village+ initiative is the answer to the citizens’ strong request to give the environment the same weight as economic and social policies at regional, national and European level. The idea resulted from a European survey of 2005*, showing that in this respect, citizens primarily trust the work of NGOs, such as the AER. The Village+ Label will be a tool for reinforcing the European citizens’ confidence in territories, which are true poles of excellence for the preservation of the environment and for sustainable development. One key criteria to obtain this label is that at least one hundred stakeholders sign, as individuals, a Charter where they commit to act in an environmentally-friendly way everyday, notably in terms of waste segregation, energy and water saving, use of organic cleansing products…
‘We invite all European regional and local authorities to come forward with their projects and we hope to label many other interregional actions in the near future,’ underlined Thomas Carlsson.
All the labelled territories will jointly form the European Regions Touring Nature Network. This network will target international customers sensitive to environmental protection and wishing to discover regional identities and specificities in Europe. It will give tourists the opportunity to discover European rural territories in an eco-tourist’ way.
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