Midi-Pyrénées was the first region in France to adopt a nationally recognised Agenda 21 programme. This Agenda for the 21st century takes the form of a programme of initiatives designed to: combat climate change and develop renewable energy sources; preserve biodiversity and enhance areas of countryside; support low-carbon, clean production methods; and restore and manage rivers and protect water resources.
This sustainable development policy applies to regional initiatives in all areas: energy, transport, the social and welfare economy… and of course tourism too. Tourism that works to preserve the human, scenic, natural and cultural riches that give Midi-Pyrénées its separate identity and that aims, by extension, to deal with the concerns raised by a growing proportion of its population and visitors
A few examples
The effects of the commitment we are making for the long term are already becoming apparent. There is the success of the Regional Nature Parks that cover some 20% of the region, and the regular creation of sanctuaries such as the Regional Nature Reserves.
There is also the commitment made by the 25 Top Tourist Destinations in Midi-Pyrénées to introduce sustainable tourism measures.
What's more, whole sectors of the industry, such as camp site managers or ski resorts for example, are drawing up programmes designed to preserve the environment and protect natural resources.
We should also mention the increasing number of relevant initiatives being introduced by everyone associated with the tourist trade in Midi-Pyrénées: farmers, producers, tourist attraction managers, leisure activity service providers, restaurateurs, hoteliers, gîte owners, etc.
The only scheme of its kind in France
To take things even further, the Midi-Pyrénées region has renewed its full commitment to provide concrete support to tourism professionals who want to bring a pro-active sustainable development approach to their businesses.
To date, Midi-Pyrénées is the only region in France to have obtained permission from the European Union to use some of its European funding in this innovative scheme.