from 5th- to 8th October 2009 in Paplateles Village, Lithuania
35 participants met at the third project meeting of the Parks & Benefits project in Lithuania early in October 2009. The meeting took place in the Paplateles Village in the middle of the Zemaitija National Park.
Site visits to different areas of this national park as well as to the neighbouring Kurtuvenai Regional Park, both being partners of this project, demonstrated the starting point of the Charter process that shall be carried out in both protected areas. The director of Kurtuvenai Regional Park Rimvydas Tamulaitis highlighted that cooperation among the park and stakeholders of the region already is established, but small and medium sized enterprises still need support to keep their businesses running and develop unique offers for tourists that are closely connected with the region’s heritage. The situation in Zemaitija National Park is similar; however, this region is on the other hand already strongly affected by tourism in peak seasons causing especially conflicts in protected nature reserves. Giedrius Norvaišas, the director of Zemaitija National Park, emphasized that the implementation of the European Charter for sustainable tourism in protected areas in both Lithuanian parks will be a test and role-model for other protected areas in Lithuania.
Discussing different visitor monitoring instruments of parks, all partners agreed on a common visitor survey to be carried out next season. The results will allow for a comparison of the tourism situation in protected areas as a base for adapting the visitor management strategies. Other protected areas are welcome to use the same instrument in their parks and join the monitoring process.
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