Conference on Greenways and Sustainable Tourism in Europe, European Greenways Award. Rome 20th November
21 speakers from all over Europe sharing real experiences linked to 11 countries: Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Poland, and cross-border Poland/Czech Republic, Latvia, Belgium, Serbia, Germany, and Europe as a whole.
More than 100 participants enjoyed learning about new initiatives and sharing their passion for greenways and for moving towards a more sustainable tourism in Europe, based on greenways, non-motorised itineraries, active mobility and public transport, in an incomparable setting in Rome, in the Campidoglio overlooking the ancient Roman Forum.
Welcome messages from the co-organising institutions in Rome (RFI, and Roma Capitale) expressing their clear commitment to the transformation of tourism and sustainable travel, based on active mobility at local and national level. Promotion of the use of the train as part of the tourist experience, and valorisation of disused railway infrastructures.
Clear commitment of European Greenways to the green transition of tourism, disseminating good practices that can inspire new actions in Europe. Giving visibility to the importance of national greenways programmes, (“Ecopistas” in Portugal, “30 years of the greenways programme” in Spain), the promotion of the reuse of disused railway heritage (Italy), as examples of actions linked to railway authorities; or the national plan for Greenways and tourism, promoted I this case by the national tourism authority in Ireland.
Information on European Tourism Agenda and funding sources (European Commission, Committee of the Regions), which can help to generate new transformative projects, joining the mosaic of excellent examples of territorial cooperation, and use of European funds presented at the conference: real achievements that improve the living conditions of their citizens and make territories more attractive both for living and for sustainable tourism, helping to attract more environmentally aware visitors, and improving Europe as a whole.
Highlighting the growing and continuing importance of cycle tourism in Europe, with examples of European networks, such as EuroVelo, or the national initiative to develop a soft mobility network in Italy, and planning active mobility in Roma Capitale, to transform the way people move in the city, for residents and tourists.
Regional and local examples. Some of them very consolidated and successful, such as Vies Verdes de Girona, which reminded us of its low-budget beginnings 20 years ago, and the success and notoriety of the network thanks to the cooperation and continuous work, which have made it possible to substantially increase the budget over the years to achieve the current network.
New transformative regional examples are steadily progressing (Western Pomerania, Poland) and have already led to emblematic achievements (cross-border bridge over the Odra river, and symbol of reconciliation between two countries). In addition to regional and cross-border territorial cooperation projects in Poland/Czechia, Latvia/Estonia, led by the Latvian Greenways Association, that are closely cooperated with EGWA network from 10 years now; or the cooperation in the Western Balkans, working together to make reality a very ambitious and exciting vision to reconnect the countries of former Yugoslavia, Serbia, Bosnia &Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro through a greenway).
With examples of collaboration between the regional administration that realises the infrastructure of greenways (Walloon region -Mobility), and a local tourist entity (Office de tourisme du Pays d’Herve ),that takes advantage of them by generating active and accessible tourism products, combined with other natural and cultural assets.
Great achievements thanks to citizens’ initiatives that transform their cities and urban environments (Germany/ Wuppertal Movement), such as the conversion of an old railway line into an urban greenway, realized by and for its citizens; impressive result of short length and great impact on daily mobility and decarbonization of transport.
Valorisation of a valuable disused railway heritage and environmental recovery, on the Costa dei Trabocchi, generating a new greenway, a “recycled” transport infrastructure, which improves the daily life of its citizens, and is highly attractive for tourism.
Or the excellent example of the recovery of the historical heritage of the Royal Canal transformed into the magnificent Royal Canal greenway of 130 km! An impressive infrastructure and a great tourist product, which has had the full support of its residents, and has allowed the territorial connection of rural areas , until now outside the tourist area, for the daily enjoyment of its citizens, and for tourists. A long process and a very important investment that has resulted in a great economic impact.
Promotion of the greenways with all kinds of activities and formats. Like the impressive cross-border Bicycle Festival on the Iron Greenway in Poland / Czechia, supporting culture, nature and economy, with a strong focus on ecotourism. It has counted with the support of many different stakeholders, to promote the fantastic cross-border rail-trail greenway of 54 km.
The Greenways Festival in France, federating efforts with the support of a whole network of local associations grouped on a national scale, and promoting inclusion, for the greater use and enjoyment of greenways for all, over the country.
New ways of approaching railway heritage and its transformation, through the docufilm “Sentieri di ferro”, a professional production of great visual power and beauty.
Hobbies that become a way of life using the greenways with huskies and sledges in snowy winters (Latvia), generating new economic activities and favoring the maintenance of young families in the territory.
In short, a wide variety of examples, national, regional and/or local, carried out by all kinds of entities with very different budgets, which have in common enthusiasm, cooperation and continuous effort, which are the basis of the success of all these initiatives, and which are worth knowing and visiting.
Several of these initiatives have received awards in this and previous editions. The awards recognize and give visibility to work well done, and are a source of inspiration to carry out new initiatives in Europe for the benefit of the territories, their citizens and their visitors.
The awards are an added motivation to encourage people to enjoy these greenways by bike or on foot, and to attract visitors. We strongly recommend you to visit them. Greenways are a very attractive sustainable travel option!
We encourage everyone as well to support the increase and improvement of the greenway network, in the best way they can. To influence the transformation of disused railway heritage and other transport infrastructure, such as canals, into greenways. To continue to move towards a European green network, based on greenways and connected to other non-motorised or low-traffic infrastructure, across the continent, accessible by public transport, mainly by train.
This is what EGWA has been promoting for 25 years, and reflects the programmatic declaration of Lille (2000), Declaration Towards a “European Greenway Network” which defines greenways, and whose achievements have been rewarded and celebrated by the biannual Greenway Awards for the last 20 years, .
Big thanks to all participants in the award, speakers and attendees at the Rome Conference.
Last but not least, and very especially to the members of the EGWA who, with their continuous support, make the association’s action possible.
Let’s keep working together! Join EGWA
Enjoy greenways, a different and unique way to discover Europe, its history, its nature, its culture, its gastronomy and its people!
Future Info: >> Presentations >>Photos >> Awarded
> Technical Visit : “Parco lineare”, an urban greenway in Rome.
- A cycle path for the Catholic Church’s 2025 Jubilee Year.
- From the railway line to cycle-pedestrian path.
>> The project envisages the extension of the existing Monte Ciocci – Monte Mario cycle/pedestrian path (a 5 km long Linear Park) all the way to Saint Peter’s.
>> The cycle-pedestrian path from Monte Mario to Saint Peter’s will act as a “New Urban Francigena” which will lead pilgrims to Saint Peter’s, in a safe way.
Mercedes Muñoz Zamora
European Greenways Association, Director