A strong presence of greenways at FITUR 2023, and of cycle tourism in general.
The FITUR 2023 fair has been an excellent occasion for presentations and dissemination of new tourism products based on greenways; signing of collaboration agreements, meetings with EGWA partners and friends of the greenways, and exploring future plans.
>> We attended presentations and round tables on greenways to back up the action of our members in favour of greenways.
Common message in the presentations: the great transformation that greenways have brought about and the need for optimal maintenance, demanded by citizens and companies that focus their activity on these non-motorised routes, and which constitute a major economic resource for the territories through which they run.
> We received the visit of Paulo Rodrigues, manager of the National Plan of Ecopistas of Portugal, of IP Patrimonio, who presented the new brochure of Ecopistas.
We learned first-hand about the advances in infrastructures and governance in the Portuguese ecopistas, and explored new possibilities for closer international collaboration to advance an Iberian vision of greenways. In this sense, possibilities for collaboration can be opened up in the framework of the agreement signed for the promotion of cross-border tourism between Spain and Portugal, which includes among the areas of action cycle tourism and hiking, which will have to be materialised in specific actions.
We shared best practices in greenways. We highlight the great interest of the example of Portugal regarding the agreement that IP Patrimonio makes with the municipalities that build and manage the greenways, to compensate the cost of renting the track, with the maintenance performed locally by the municipalities. This financial compensation greatly favours the participation of these municipalities in the programme, and allows the maintenance and conservation of the ecopistes, former railway lines.
>> We offered personalised information about the European Greenways at different stands in Europe, making this resource known at stands where we have members and this offer is not visible.
>We met with the group of Local Action Groups of the Comarca de los Valles (Community of Madrid)
They will include greenways as the axis of its action for the promotion of tourism in this territory in the southeast of Madrid region, financed by NextGeneration funds. It was discussed the collaboration with the SIGWAY project, Sport on Greenways, in which EGWA participates ; some actions of this European project have already been carried out in this territory, and most of the planned actions of SIGWAY in Spain will be undertaken, specifically in the Tajuña Greenway.
The Vias verdes / greenways stand of the FFE is always a great meeting point, thank you very much for the always warm welcome!!
FITUR 2023 was very well attended by visitors, many of whom no doubt will include greenways in their travel plans.
We will continue promoting greenways in Europe to attract new visitors, and disseminating best practices that contribute to their development, visibility and funding.
FITUR – International Tourism Fair, Madrid, 18-22 January 2023, in figures: more than 222,000 attendees, almost double the number in 2022 -136,000 professionals, 68% more, and 86,000 visitors .The fair has brought together the offer of 8,500 participants, 131 countries, 755 exhibitors, along 66,900 m2 of exhibition space.
Mercedes Muñoz Zamora
European Greenways Association, Director
Credit photos: EGWA, FFE , IP Patrimonio