In Galicia, only the Parque de las Islas Atlánticas had this distinctive until now.

The space Os Ancares and O Courel are already Espacio Observer Turismo Científico, after passing the first phase of the audit and obtaining the accreditation established by this seal, which combines research, science and tourism. The project, initiated by the Provincial Council of Lugo in August 2018 with a contribution of 70,000 euros, now continues with the implementation of a second phase with concrete actions on the ground aimed at promoting tourism in the territory as a scientific reserve, to create quality tourism endorsed by the Observer certification. In Galicia, only the Atlantic Islands Park had this distinction until now.

The territory that becomes Espacio Observer covers the municipalities of Becerreá, As Nogais, Triacastela, Pedrafita do Cebreiro, Samos, O Incio, Folgoso do Courel, A Pobra do Brollón, Quiroga, Ribas de Sil, Vacía, Ribeira de Piquín, A Fonsagrada and Negueira de Muñiz. In total, more than 100 thousand hectares between Os Ancares and O Courel in what will be the largest scientific study area in Galicia, a model that seeks to create sustainable connections between tourism, biodiversity conservation and science in protected areas while seeking to generate economic development in these territories.

“The area of Ancares and O Courel already has other seals of protection, such as the Biosphere Reserve, in the first case, and the Natura 2000 Network, in both districts.  Courel also opts this year for the recognition of Xeoparque World Unesco, so it is clearly evident the interest in protecting the natural values of this area,” said Tourism Deputy, Eduardo Vidal Baamonde, who also advanced the need to work on this project in the long term and with continuity.

Second phase
In this sense advanced the actions that will be implemented in the territory in the coming months among which highlighted the creation of a common name in parallel with the creation of a coordinating body with a manager or responsible for it. “From there will be developed different lines of work that will mark the beginning of the strategy of Scientific Tourism for the Mountains of Ancares and O Courel,” he explained. It will also promote the use of natural and cultural resources with which to make scientific dissemination, the creation of a working group in which the County Council will have the participation of the USC, the municipalities integrated into the area and other key actors in the territory that have powers in the area of dissemination or management of natural resources. The second phase also contemplates the creation of a web page, the design of an informative catalogue of goods of scientific interest of this space, as well as five thematic itineraries linked to scientific tourism and the creation of a PPP. In addition, there will be an annual scientific tourism programme, a seminar for companies in the sector on the same subject and a training seminar for tourist guides and informers.

Certification system
The Observer certification system was created with the aim of promoting and improving the quality of actions related to sustainable and quality Scientific Tourism, guaranteeing sustainability and participation, as well as facilitating access to all sectors of the population, including those with special needs or those of minority groups. It will make it possible to unify science, scientific dissemination and tourism into a single distinctive for the Ancares and O Courel mountains.

Thursday March 7th, 2019
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Os Ancares-Courel receive the Scientific Tourism Observer badge

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