WCA’s Sophie Lewis attended the final Steering Committee meeting for the Wildsea Atlantic Ocean Heritage (WAOH) Route project in early October.
It was bittersweet as the WCA and project Partners shared the successes of the project and the great collaborations that had come from the two year initiative.
We can’t wait to see the continued success of the WAOH! Route!
Earlier in the project…
Capacity building sessions were provided to marine tourism operators (whale watching, diving, kayak, coastal tours etc.) across all of the project destinations (five were delivered in total – Portimao, Lisbon, Galicia, Cornwall, Donegal). The aim of these session was to introduce the project to local stakeholders and set expectations to those participating in the route. Importantly, these sessions were also an opportunity to provide vital training in responsible marine tourism and education. There was very good attendance by local operators at each session and positive feedback was given. All six sessions were run in close collaboration between the WCA, Submon, Travelecoology and the host destination.
Six capacity building sessions were also organised and delivered for destination managers and other key stakeholders across the six destinations. These were different to those aimed at operators and focused on knowledge sharing related to managing sustainable tourism destinations. Again, these sessions involved both presentations and practical sessions. These were very rewarding and were a good catalyst for communication amongst stakeholders in the destination. We tried to ensure an element of flexibility with the practical element of these sessions to ensure that they were most useful to that destination. For example, in Portimao, some key management challenges were identified during the operator sessions that we felt would be useful to address in more detail during the destination managers session. On the other hand, in Cascais and Sessimbra, for example, a broader activity was used to identify strengths and weaknesses in the destinations sustainability as defined through the WAOH Route sustainability criteria.
With the financial support of the European Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME) of the European Commission (EU)