VI European Greenways Conference. 

Greenways, much more than sustainable infrastructure for tourism development. 

Vitoria-Gasteiz, (Spain) 4 – 5 April 2019 

Palacio de Congresos Europa

Organized by: Basquetour, the European Greenways Association and the Spanish Railways Foundation.


Preliminary Programme

DAY 1: 4 April 2019

8:30 – 9:00. Welcome and registration

9:00 – 9:30. Opening speeches

  • Basque Country Regional Government Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs
  • European Union
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
  • European Greenways Association
  • Spanish Railways Foundation

9:30 – 10:30.  Session 1: The Greenways in Regional, National and European Policies and Strategies

Regional development instruments need to make provision for greenways to enable projects to be developed and funded.

  • Greenways, a European initiative. Mercedes Muñoz, Director, European Greenways Association.
  • The Irish Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways. Derek O’Neill, Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport.
  • The Nature Paths and Greenways Programme. Jorge Figueira. Directorate-General for Rural Development, Innovation and Forestry Policy. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

10:30 – 11:50  Session 2: Industrial Heritage and Greenways

The valorization of the industrial heritage sites along the greenways: one objective of greenway infrastructure.

  • Promotion of Railway Heritage, Greenways, TouRail, Railway Museums and other proposals. José Carlos Domínguez Curiel, CEO, Spanish Railways Foundation.
  • The Greenways Heritage tourism GIS (Geographic Information System), promoting greenways across Europe. Giulio Senes, University of Milan.
  • Ecopistas (Greenways) in Portugal and Railway Heritage Management. Filipe Beja, Manager of the Portuguese Ecotrails National Plan. IP Patrimonio.
  • RAVeL, Walloon region: from the Recovery of the Railway Heritage to the long-distance cycle routes. Gilbert Perrin, Technical Advisor, International Relations, Chemins du Rail, Belgium.

11:50 – 12:20. Panel discussion

12:20 – 12:50. Brunch: Pintxos (tapas) and networking.

12:50 – 14:10. Session 3: Monitoring and Studies on Greenways and Cycle Tourism

Measuring and monitoring are essential for collecting data on current happenings, return on investments and economic impact, and for formulating criteria for future planning.

  • The Bicycle Observatory in France. Vélo & Territoires.
  • Results of a Comparative Analysis of Successful Cases of Natural Paths and Greenways Tourism Management. Ricardo Blanco, Head of Sustainable Tourism, Secretariat of State for Tourism, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
  • Latest Data from the Cycle Tourism Observatory in Germany. Fong Choo Leong. Bicycle Tourism Officer. German Cyclists Federation, ADCF (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club).
  • Socioeconomic Impact of Greenways in Girona. Ángel Planas. Manager, Girona Greenways Consortium.

14:10 – 15:00. Session 4: Business Round Table on the Greenways Tourist Product

The participation of the private sector is essential to the development of the tourist product. How can we offer what the tourist wants? Expansion of the electric bike market.

  • Daniel Mourek. International projects and Greenways programme manager. Nadace Partnerství (Czech Republic). Welcome-Cyclist, Accueil Vélo (and other certifications awarded for services offered to the cycle tourist.
  • Henrik Lythe Jørgensen. Consultant. Dansk Cykelturisme (Danish Cycle Tourism), a public-private association for the promotion of cycle tourism in Denmark.
  • Antonio Camacho. Centro Cicloturista Subbética. The growth of a cycle tourism SME based in the Aceite (Oil) Greenway.

15:00 – 15:20. Panel discussion

15:30 – 18:30. Technical visit to the Vasco Navarro Railway Greenway.


DAY 2: 5 April 2019

8:30 – 9:00. Welcome and registration

9:00 – 10:00. Session 5: Management and Promotion of Non-Motorized Travel Itineraries

How is a successful itinerary achieved? Best management practices; greenways as much more than infrastructures; information and communications technologies and traditional promotional techniques.

  • Advocacy and Communication of Spanish Greenways. Arantxa Hernández, Head of Greenways Area, Spanish Railways Foundation.
  • Greenways Promotion Strategy in Basque Country. Harkaitz Millán, CEO Basquetour (Basque Tourism Agency).
  • The strategy to promote cycling tourism in France.

10:00 – 11:40. Session 6: Mobility, Intermodality and Local Development

Greenways as infrastructure for tourism, for the creation of long-distance travel itineraries as well as everyday mobility.

  • Navarra Greenways Plan and the Ederbidea Project. Maitena Ezkutari, Director-General for Tourism and Trade, Navarra Regional Government.
  • Promoting Sustainable Mobility through the United Kingdom’s National Cyclist Network. Gordon Clarke, National Director for Ireland, Sustrans UK.
  • Alava’s green itinerary network. Amaia Barredo. Environment and Town Planning Director at Álava’s Provincial Council.
  • From the Great Southern Trail to the Great Southern Greenway. Citizen Involvement in the Promotion of Railway Heritage. Liam o’Mahony, Chairman, Great Southern Trail (Ireland).
  • The Vitoria-Gasteiz Green Ring: Integrating and Connecting Town and Country with Green Infrastructure. Ane Itziar Velasco. CEA. Centre for Environmental Studies, Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council.

11:40 – 12:00. Panel discussion

12:00 – 12:30. Brunch: pintxos (tapas) and networking.

12:30 – 13:30. Session 7: Accessible Tourism and Greenways

Greenways: Pioneers and Models of Tourism for All. A right as well as an important market.

  • Greenways, Key Infrastructure for Active and Accessible Tourism in Europe. Craig Grimes. Managing Director, Experience Community CIC (Community Interest Company),  European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT).
  • Integration of Accessible Tourism in the Vía Verde de la Sierra (Cádiz) Management Strategy. Mary Jiménez, Director, Vía Verde de La Sierra Foundation.
  • The Gaves Greenway and the “Tourism and Handicap” Label Applied to France’s Greenways. Pays de Lourdes et des Vallées des Gaves.

13:30 –14:15. Session 8: Round Table: Women and Greenways

The gender perspective will be present throughout the conference, and all speakers are urged to ensure that their contributions take this issue into account. Notwithstanding, this round table event will be dedicated specifically to Women and Greenways.

  • Mercedes Muñoz, Director, European Greenways Association
  • Carmen Aycart, Greenways expert and co-founder of the Spanish Greenways initiative
  • Arantxa Hernández, Head of Greenways Area, Spanish Railways Foundation
  • Amaia Barredo, Environment and Town Planning Director at Álava’s Provincial Council.
  • Maitena Ezkutari, Director-General for Tourism and Trade, Navarra Regional Government
  • María Jiménez, Director, Vía Verde de La Sierra Foundation

14:15 – 14:30. Closing remarks

Conclusions drawn from the 6th European Greenways Conference. Ainara Rodríguez Zulaica, Coordinator, Bilbao Tourism Departmental Area, Deusto University.

14:30. End of conference


Registration on line HERE


⇒ Free participation, prior registration required

⇒  Language: Spanish/ English with simultaneous translation from / to 


EUROPA Congress Palace, Avenida  Gasteiz, 85, 01009 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava

Vitoria-Gasteiz. How to arrive? click here

Please stay tuned for upcoming updates!

Location: Vitoria-Gasteiz