The future of tourism will be sustainable and local or it will not be.

Travelling into the [future] is an initiative that aims to support the development of community-based strategies for sustainable tourism in Spain.

How can we bring national or supranational environmental policies to the local level?

 

Could these policies be deployed on the basis of public-private partnerships, and could a model be created that works in many places?

Can the local community play a leading role in creating such a model?  

 

And can tourism serve as a motor for its development?

These are the guiding questions of the second phase of Travelling into the [future].
To learn more about the first phase, click here.

We are designing a pilot project

Why Laciana?

 

The Laciana Valley (Tsaciana in Patsuezu, the local language), is a region in the Spanish province León, situated between El Bierzo, Babia and Asturias.

Until the mines began to close in the mid-1990s, Laciana was one of the most important coal production centres in the Iberian Peninsula.

That closure brought about a profound change in the local economy, which had major consequences in terms of population decline: of the 16,000 inhabitants that the region once had, today there are only about 8,000 registered inhabitants.

Pozo Maria, in Caboalles de Abajo

Despite the environmental abuses committed by the mining industry in the past, the natural richness and cultural heritage of the Laciana Valley received the declaration of Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2003.

In addition to magnificent landscapes, Laciana has its own local culture, which finds its expression in local initiatives such as the Camminus Project and its Samhain Festival or the Association of Friends of Sierra Pambley and the Xeitu Club and their defence and promotion of the local language and culture.

One of the ways to mitigate the loss of population is to foster economic activities that leverage and protect both the natural and cultural heritage.

However, the initiatives planned in the last two decades along these lines –such as the Parador Nacional de Turismo–  have failed to come to fruition.

Detail of the Tikiti Folk Festival hosted in the La Tintoreria in Villablino
Foto by Katerin Alvarez

The challenge

For all these reasons, the Laciana Valley is an ideal place to develop this pilot programme that aims to help the transformation of its tourism sector.

After months of discussions with the Diputación de León and Villablino Town Council, we identified specific needs to work on. The general objective of the initiative is to make the local economy flourish while generating wealth and wellbeing in the valley and building up on sustainability principles. The specific challenge to which the pilot programme responds is the following:

Detail of one of the activities of the third session

How could we promote cooperation and exchange on good business practices and between professionals of the tourism sector and other local agents, so that tourism services offered in the Laciana Valley get more professional while seeking excellence and keeping sustainability in mind?

Part of the impulse working group defining the lines of work

The pilot

The pilot, designed with the active participation of a group of representatives of the local community, will start in September 2024 and will operate under a collaboration agreement between the Villablino City Council and the Diputación of León. Its objectives, the governance model that will be adopted and the lines of work to be developed were established through a working process structured in three participatory sessions:

First session

A discussion moment during one of the participative sessions

During the first session, the actions necessary to achieve the objectives were defined. Francisco Javier Cansinos, an expert in tourism and innovation, was invited to the session to present a series of keys for the development of innovation strategies in rural tourism. Through different dynamics, participants were invited to share ideas about actions to be developed, finally agreeing on the establishment of four lines of work:

Increase coordination to overcome seasonality.

Improve services and user experience. 

Sharing resources to generate local abundance.
Collaborate with the administration and be a recognised body with representation.

Second session

A moment of debate with Fran Quiroga during one of the participatory sessions

The second session was dedicated to the design of the governance model to be adopted by the pilot. Participants reflected on engagement, coordination, decision-making, accountability and transparency within the pilot. They discussed and agreed on who will be able to decide and how, who will be allowed to participate in the programme and to who will be accountable for the actions taken. This session included the intervention of Fran Quiroga, a transdisciplinary researcher with extensive experience in projects that focus on the governance of the commons. This second session concluded with the outline of a first organigram of the pilot.

Third session

Finalisation of the participatory development of the pilot’s timeline.

The third session focused on specifying the most relevant actions that will be carried out during the 24 months of the pilot; from its start in September 2024 until the same month in 2026. By deepening the four lines of work agreed in the first session and taking into account the calendar of local events in the Laciana Valley, the group agreed on a timeline structured in four consecutive phases in which the actions are included, as well as the planned meetings.

Group photo at the end of the series of participatory sessions

Expected results

Growth of the local economy through circularity

Improved measurement of tourism activity data

The promotion of local culture and identity

Increased collaboration between public and private entities

A model to be taken to other places

Travelling into the [futurehas a clear intention: generating results that can be used beyond the borders of the Laciana Valley. The aim is to create a model that can be implemented in territories with similar characteristics and problems to this beautiful valley.

A collaborative project designed by Tipi and Futures Probes

Tipi

Located in Bilbao
www.tipigara.co

We drive transformation. We want to create more autonomous communities, capable of shaping their own future. That is why we work in a participatory way using new ideas, methodologies and ways of doing things. We research, mingle with others and experiment to generate solutions that transform our daily lives and improve the present we inhabit.

Futures Probes

Located in Barcelona and Berlin
www.futuresprobes.com

Futures Probes is a collective of futurists, strategic designers and facilitators of participatory processes. Our aim is to make the mindset and methods used in futures thinking and the transformative power of futures design accessible to all.

European Climate Foundation

www.europeanclimate.org/

The project is funded by the European Climate Foundation.

The European Climate Foundation addresses the global climate crisis by creating a zero greenhouse gas emissions society. Through the power of philanthropy they support the climate community in shaping the public debate and forging innovative solutions. Together with hundreds of partner organisations, they are at the forefront of a global movement to ensure a livable planet for future generations.

Contact

Do you want to know more about us or this project? Contact us.

info@viajandoalfuturo.es