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The extraordinary beauty, cultural wealth and great diversity of Macaronesia and West African coastal areas, have endowed them with importance or potential where appropriate as a holiday destination. Hence coastal and maritime tourism is an important development hub. The coastal and maritime tourist sector is part of the EU ‘blue growth’ strategy and has been defined as an area of particular potential to boost an intelligent, integrative and sustainable Europe.

On our Canary coasts, there are places with great tourist potential where the focus on tourist activities should favour sustainability, preservation, and appreciation of the environment (natural and cultural) which receives visitors and creates awareness, would encourage better use of resources, giving them a value besides favouring their preservation and knowledge. This kind of tourist activity is known as eco-tourism, and is beginning to gain importance despite the as yet insufficient diffusion, to become a dynamizing activity of the coastal areas and is environment friendly, evidencing the attractiveness of cultural and natural heritages of the areas where implemented.

Through this initiative ECOTOUR seeks to encourage ecotourism as an economic activity, carefully planned and implemented with the capacity to contribute to the preservation of ecosystems and maintenance of the environmental services these generate likewise contributing to the financial sustainability of these areas and the population which inhabits many of them. Ecotourism consists of visits to relatively unaltered geographical areas to enjoy and appreciate their cultural or natural attractions via a process which fosters preservation, has a low environmental impact and the activities adapt to the characteristics of each place.

Thus, to adapt it to the idiosyncrasies and needs of each location, an analysis of the areas is required in each of the participating regions, for the subsequent promotion of different ecotourist activities according to the previously identified characteristics and involvement of local agents.    

The ECOTOUR project aim is to place value on the cultural and natural heritage of our coastal areas, in those areas protected by the Canaries, Azores, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Senegal, by promoting ecotourism activities. This initiative led by the Gran Canaria Council, with ITC being one of the 10 project partners, will work to achieve the expected results around 3 main hubs, which include the study of the heritage of these protected coastal areas chosen to analyse their weaknesses, strengths and competences in the face of the possible development of sustainable environment friendly tourist activities; improvement in conditions and services of these areas as a reason to develop ecotourist activities; and last but not least, the promotion itself of ecotourism as a sustainable tourist alternative which adds value to the existing cultural and natural heritage of our territories.

To carry out all these activities ECOTOUR has a team of partners with different profiles comprising a multidisciplinary team which has worked together since the formulation ensuring the project adapts to the reality of each participating territory.

  • Cabildo de Gran Canaria. Canarias. España
  • Centro Tecnológico de Ciencias (CETECIMA). Canarias. España 
  • Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC). Canarias. España
  • Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, S.A. (ITC). Canarias. España 
  • Red de Trabajo para la Gestión Sostenible de los Recursos Marinos de la Eco-Región África del Oeste (AFRIMAR). Canarias. España 
  • Partenariat Régional pour la Conservation de la zone côtière et marine de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (PRCM)
  • Asociación Regional de Turismo. Azores
  • Dirección de Áreas Protegidas del Ministerio de Medioambiente. Mauritania
  • Asociación de Empresas Tecnológicas INNOVALIA
  • Federación de Turismo de Mauritania. Mauritania
  • Direcção Nacional do Ambiente (DNA). Cabo Verde  
  • Dirección General de Deportes de Cabo Verde. Cabo Verde

Budget:   1.238.126,11 €    

INTERREG MAC 2014-2020 Finance Program, European Regional Development Funds ERDF (85%):  1.052.407,19 €

November 2016 – May 2021

Main objective:

Adding value to the cultural and natural heritage of the coastal areas via promotion of ecotourism activities.

Specific objectives:

  • Study the historical and natural heritage of the coastal and analyse their weaknesses, strengths and competences in the face of the possible development of sustainable environment friendly tourist activities. 
  • Improve conditions and services of the coastal areas in these protected areas as a reason to develop ecotourism activities. 
  • Promote ecotourism in the protected areas as a sustainable tourist alternative which adds value to the existing cultural and natural heritage.