The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, through the European Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME) of the European Commission (EU), is investing €375.000 in a new initiative, designed to develop a Sustainable Diving Route connecting “flagship” diving sites & ecotourism destinations along Europe’s Atlantic coastline.
On the 1st of January 2018, the Wildsea Atlantic Ocean Heritage Route (WAOH!) was launched!
The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) is proud to be part of this exciting new project along with six other organisations from four countries (UK, Ireland, Portugal and Spain):
- Travelecoology (Project Coordinator, Spain)
- Donegal County Council (Ireland)
- Forum Oceano (Portugal)
- Turismo de Galicia (Spain)
- Visit Cornwall (UK)
- SUBMON (Spain)
What is the WAOH Route?
The “WAOH Route: A Dive into Adventure” is the first, European, Sustainable Diving Route and network connecting world-class diving sites from the extreme south in Portugal and Spain to the far north, encompassing Ireland and UK, which embody common European shared values & heritage. The Route will promote Europe’s 5000 km of Atlantic, nautical coastline as a unique, transnational tourism itinerary and destination for divers & eco-tourists alike.
The project aims to:
The project aims to raise awareness of Europe as a sustainable, high quality destination by highlighting and connecting world-class, Atlantic diving sites, destinationsand their associated natural & cultural heritage.
The project also aims to:
- Tap into the market of 6 million divers;
- Raise Europe’s profile as a top diving destination;
- Build synergies with non-diving experiences unique to the Atlantic such as whale watching.
What is the WCA’s role?
The WCA will be working closely with Barcelona based organisation SUBMON to develop and implement:
- the underlying sustainability criteria for the project destinations, tourism operators and activities;
- materials to help improve “ocean literacy”, primarily through practical toolkits and a complimentary app;
- a series of training and capacity building sessions to be held in all partner destinations for both tour operators and destination managers to support sustainable, responsible tourism.
These objectives and outcomes support the WCA’s strategic goals of Capacity Building, Sustainable Cetacean Tourism and Sites & Species and presents a fantastic opportunity for the expertise and experience of the WCA Partnership to be implemented at the destination scale.
The Kick-off Meeting!
On the 22nd of February, 2018, Dylan Walker and Sophie Lewis from the WCA Secretariat attended the project kick-off meeting in La Toja, Galica, Spain hosted by WAOH! Partners Tourismo de Galica and lead by project coordinator, Travelecology.
The meeting was a great success, leaving all the Partners inspired and excited to get started!Julia Vera Prieto, Travelecology Director, leading the kick-off meetingThanks to Turismo de Galicia, we were also able to experience some of the rich maritime heritage, unique marine ecosystems and local cuisine of Galicia that will be celebrated by the WAOH! Route project.