As more regions and countries develop their tourism industry, it produces significant impacts on natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems. The need for sustainable, responsible planning and management is imperative for the industry to survive as-a-whole. Tourism has significant impact on humans, wildlife, habitats, water, climate and atmosphere.
Spain started advocating about ecotourism in the 1990’s. As you start thinking about eco-destinations to bring your groups, select destinations that not only promote cultural awareness but support community interaction and help minimize carbon footprints. Look at cities such as Barcelona or Madrid that promote renewable energy as well as sustainable transportation, services and goods.
Spain’s rural regions contribute to environmental awareness and implemented strict controls admittance to its ecological parks, refuges and preserves where you can discover its natural spaces in an original way.
These 5 national parks are an example of Spain’s effort to preserving the land for future generations.
- Picks de Europa National Park
The mountains are the major geological feature of the park and hiking one of the main attractions. The sightings of a wide range of wildlife is not uncommon. On the lower parts of the mountain you can see roe deer and wild boars roaming freely. On the higher elevations mountain goats and Cantabrian Chamois can be observed. The park received UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status in 2002
- Doñana National Park
The Park is a mosaic of ecosystems that house a unique biodiversity in Europe. It especially highlights the marshland and its extraordinary importance for thousands of European and African migrating birds finding a safe refuge for breeding and wintering. Unique species in serious danger of extinctions live there such as the Iberian imperial eagle and the Liberian lynx. Doñana is at the junction of a set of ecosystems (Beach, Dunes, Preserves, Marshland…) which gives the area its unique personality.
- Sierra Nevada National Park
The Sierra Nevada is a dramatic, rugged and extensive mountain range. The protected area covers 213,024 acres of torrential rivers, sheer-sided gorges, stony screen slopes, and glacial lakes between snowy summits. Hiking and biking are the main activities and offers plenty of opportunity to admire the park’s flora. The park is home to more than 2,100 species, 116 of which are categorized as endangered. Sixty of the species found here grow nowhere else on earth. You can also spot Spanish Ibex, wild boar, badgers, wildcats and the Golden and Bonnelli’s eagles.
- Montfrague National Park
Montfrague National Park features the largest and best-preserved Mediterranean forest worldwide. The park is home to thousands of birds of prey and is one of the best places in Spain for birdwatching. About 280 species inhabit the park and hosts the world’s largest colony of Eurasian Black Vultures as well as the highest concentration of Imperial Eagles in the world.
- Cabañeros National Park
The Park is an exclusive place in the world and features the best Mediterranean forest on earth. Visitors can still observe unique and rare flora in an excellent state of preservation. In its landscape of mounds and forests, large mammals live, such as the Spanish Ibex, the imperial eagle and the cinereous vulture. Thousands plan species, Ordovician fossils and cabins of coal miners are only a small part of the park’s appeal.
For further information on Spain, contact the Tourist Office of Spain.
And as always, safe travel!