CEETO: Central Europe Eco-Tourism





Protected areas and Natura 2000 sites cover almost 20{17a87e990df4262d8dd11462c8a796b465b7131f92e0035d07afb147742e4c69} of the areas of countries included in the CEETO project (IT, AT, HU, DE, SI, CRO). Areas covered by the CEETO project also represent main natural and environmental so-called hot spots, which means that they contain some of the most valuable natural features that are necessary to preserve.

Among many negative impacts on the environment and nature, unsustainable and unmanageable development and tourism activities are most prominent.


Tourism is an economic activity heavily dependent on natural resources and that is one of the main reasons for the attractiveness of an area or its competitive advantage over other areas, but at the same time development of tourism activities causes indirect and immediate impacts on those same natural resources and values in regard to transport, infrastructure, services and content for visitors, etc. Also, global trends in the tourism market indicate that there has been a continuous increase in the number of tourists in protected areas, and there is no indication that this trend will change.


Furthermore, besides from the negative impact on the environment and nature, tourism can also create conflicts with the local community, for example in the use of natural resources or development of tourist infrastructure (road network, landfills, etc.). In protected areas included in the CEETO project, one of the most important aspects, managing visitors, still has not been sufficiently developed.

Visitor management includes a number of activities, from collecting and analyzing total natural, cultural and historical data of the particular area, spatial planning and zoning, knowledge of the structure and opinions of visitors/tourists of the protected area, to the lack of specifically designed and established protocols for monitoring the influence of tourism activities in the protected area.




The aim of the project is to establish an innovative participatory approach to sustainable tourism management, which aims to improve the capacity of protected area managers for the sustainable management and use of nature and its values. By implementing pilot activities in eight protected areas (which are also Natura 2000 protected areas), innovative management and monitoring tools will be tested with a special focus on the impact of tourism on biodiversity in these areas.

The project relies on a transnational partnership within the Europarc Federation (http://www.europarc.org/) and involves decision-makers at the national level and protected area level, particularly in the context of the implementation of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism.


Project activities in the initial diagnostic phase will include the collection of relevant data and information related to nature conservation and sustainable tourism, as well as the identification of effective models and management tools, which will then be implemented in the testing stage, i.e. the implementation of pilot activities in protected areas.

The most effective models and tools will be adapted and upgraded to innovative and applicable solutions that will be shared through the CEETO network, encouraging the cooperation of all relevant stakeholders.




WWF Adria is responsible for establishing the CEETO network of project partners and affiliated partners with the aim of strengthening participatory approach and ensuring the sustainability of project results after project completion, and also sharing project results and good practices in protected areas across the entire territory of Central Europe. WWF Adria will also coordinate the making of a Sustainable Tourism Management Guide in protected areas, as an operating tool for protected area management.

The public institution “Nature Park Medvednica“, one of the eight pilot areas, together with WWF Adria will cooperate in the process of defining the protocol for monitoring the impact of the planned activity expansion in the park area – SKI resort (enabling all ski slopes and adding tourist infrastructure for summer season) concerning nature and the environment.

The purpose of all eight projects in the pilot areas is to define methodologies for monitoring the impact of certain types of tourist use, which will ultimately be distributed through the work package of communication not only to CEETO project partners but wider, which will ultimately lead to improved management of visitors in protected areas.




  • Integrated tools for sustainable management of protected areas and NATURA 2000 areas and Integrated tools for sustainable use of natural resources, related to tourism activities taking place in these areas
  • Guidelines for decision-makers regarding the development of sustainable tourism policy
  • Sustainable tourism management guidebook for protected areas managers
  • Eight pilot areas and action plans for sustainable tourism and tourism impact monitoring for each of the eight pilot areas
  • CEETO network established




The project includes eleven (11) partners from the following countries: Austria (Nature Park Sölktälter, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Salzburger Lungau), Croatia (Public Institution “Nature Park Medvednica“), WWF Adria – Associate for nature protection and conservation of biodiversity, Italy (Europark Italy – Italian Federation of Parks and Nature Reserves Emilia-Romagna), Hungary (NIMFEA – Environmental and Nature Association), Germany (Europark Federation, Southeastern Biosphere Reserve Ruegen), Slovenia (Regional Development Center Koper, Public Institution Krajina Park Strunjan). The leading partner of the project is the Emilia-Romagna region.




The total project budget amounts to 2.8 million euro, of which 82{17a87e990df4262d8dd11462c8a796b465b7131f92e0035d07afb147742e4c69} is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and 18{17a87e990df4262d8dd11462c8a796b465b7131f92e0035d07afb147742e4c69} by the project partners. The project activities that will take place in the Medvednica Nature Park overall amount to 112.213,85 euro, of which 85{17a87e990df4262d8dd11462c8a796b465b7131f92e0035d07afb147742e4c69} is co-financed by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).




Start of “Eco-tourism in Central Europe: tools for nature protection” (CEETO project)


The two-day meeting, marking the opening ceremony of the CEETO project (Interreg Central Europe), was held in Bologna on 26-27 June 2017. The main theme of the project is sustainable tourism, which is increasingly talked about in the world, but the effects of its implementation are still insufficient. Project “Eco-tourism in Central Europe: tools for nature protection (CEETO)” is implemented in Italy, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Croatia and Slovenia, and will last until the middle of year 2020.


The first day of the meeting was reserved for presenting and introducing all partners involved in the project, with a total of eleven (11) coming from six (6) countries. The lead partner of the project is the Emilia-Romagna region – the Protected Areas, Forestry and Mountains Development Department of the city of Bologna, which organized the initial meeting, and coming from Croatia were partners WWF Adria and Medvednica Nature Park. Each partner presented and highlighted the segment of the project on which it will focus during the project, and which is related to the tourist function of the protected area. Discussions and mutual familiarizing of the project partners continued until the end of the first working day of the initial project meeting.


On the second day, the lead partner Emilia-Romagna region used the opportunity to go through a detailed overview of the project goals and all its work packages, while detailed arrangements were also made for the end of calendar year. A representative from the Joint Secretariat of Interreg Central Europe also joined the meeting and delivered a lecture pointing out the most common problems that occur in project implementation, clarifying the basic rules and obligations of all partners.

The first CEETO meeting of project partners was solemnly closed by defining the conclusions of the first meeting.