Project Description

Project Motivation

Sport is a social and economic phenomenon that contributes significantly to achieving the strategic objectives of the European Union. It is a dynamic sector that is experiencing rapid growth. It can be the instrument of local and regional development as well as rural development linked to the European Green Deal announced by the European Commission in December 2019. Specifically, running has experienced great growth in recent years because its practice does not require high training and its equipment is cheap. Running has become a mass sport, generating a significant economic impact in those towns that host this type of event, constituting a catalyst for rural tourism and local economic development.

For its part, tourism is an important source of income. According to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Member States of the EU 28 received 577 million international tourists in 2019. However, tourism has to evolve towards a more sustainable activity. The concept of sustainable tourism was defined in 1993 by the UNWTO in the document “Tourism the year 2000 and beyond qualitative aspects”. In this same line, the UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili, stated that «the tourism sector has the obligation to use its extraordinary power to lead the response to the climate emergency and ensure responsible growth.» Although sports tourism has grown in recent years, this type of practice tends to be more frequent in large cities, leaving rural communities out of the development process.

Based on the foregoing, tourism and sport are key elements of today’s culture and have great importance in the behavior of society, constituting a force for both economic and social development as well as sustainability in many countries. Along these lines, the European Parliament has recognized the importance of sports activities for the tourist attraction of the European territories, emphasizing its ability to attract tourists to the most remote regions. Therefore, sports tourism is presented as a key practice to promote both economic and sustainable development in a current context marked by the climate emergency and a future economic crisis due to Covid-19.

On the other hand, outdoor sports practices, such as running, can cause unintentional damage to nature, such as unintentionally damaging soil plants while running. For this reason, it is of utmost importance for nature conservation to establish routes for its practice. This project will also focus on nature conservation activities and sensitization of both political representatives and people who practice running.

This project focuses its work on creating a green strategies for generating economic impact and local development, which serves as a guide for public authorities in rural municipalities who wish to do so. It focuses mainly on rural communities, as they are the ones that European policies and financing usually reach with the greatest difficulty. Moreover, sports tourism will be promoted through awareness raising activities as a sustainable alternative to traditional tourism. To achieve this, the multidisciplinary team that has been formed will provide both a theoretical and practical approach to this project.

The targe will be public authorities of rural municipalities in order to focus their tourism policies towards sports tourism and people who practice running. In addition, the objective of the project will be relevant for the population of the municipalities where the intervention is carried out, mainly considering the post-COVID19 scenarios. This project could first motivate people to do sport and have a healthier life, likewise, people from the municipalities will be sensitized and trained in the conservation of environment. Finally, it seeks replicability in other municipalities, so close municipalities will also be the target audience for this project.

It is under the premise of promoting collaboration between public sector and sports entities to promote economic development in and through sport and under the premise of promoting the design of public policy based on good practices implemented at the local level, that the coordinator is a public entity.

Objectives of the project

  • Promote the mobility of volunteers and athletes to promote sports and good practices internationally, all this related to mountain running.
  • Link this sports practice to the sustainable economic development of rural municipalities, facing the crisis generated by Covid 19 with greater guarantees.
  • Frame and align the project within the economic dimension of sport European Union Work Plan for Sport (2017-2020).
  • Promote and share actions and good practices between different regions of the European Union.
  • Promote a healthy life and sports practice.
  • Promote respect for the Environment and the values ​​of sustainability.
  • Make visible Europe’s support for rural communities and their development.