Benefitting the local people

In creating a park, the local population makes a conscious decision to pursue a course of sustainable economic and social development in their region. This development should be in tune with local natural and landscape values, and at the same time maintain an outlook for the local inhabitants and future generations. Changes are therefore desirable, but they must concord with the sustainability criteria to which the region commits itself.

A park can offer many benefits to the local population. These might include developing marketing strategies for the sale of regional products, encouraging innovative methods of caring for the cultural landscape for farmers, or helping to market natural attractions for the tourism sector. Some parks now offer new attractions for guests over 50 years of age and a wide range of excursions. Such activities extend a park’s value-added chain and create additional value. They help to ensure that existing jobs are maintained and new ones created.

Strengthening identity

Overall, a park strengthens the positioning of a region. It can help to ensure that services such as village shops or public transport are preserved and can encourage social cohesion. A park may also bring new impulse to a region. For example, several parks have established working groups and forums to discuss the future of the region and develop concrete projects. Many of these projects, e.g. theatre evenings, discussion groups, podium discussions and cultural forums, are the result of the direct initiative of the local people. Such initiatives strengthen the culture and identity of the region.