PROWAD- Protect and Prosper
Sustainable Tourism in the Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is a worldwide unique natural area, situated along the North Sea coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. It is one of the last original natural landscapes of Europe. Here natural processes can unfold largely undisturbed, as the area has a protected status in all three countries: in Germany as national parks and in the Netherlands as nature reserves, also it has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage site since 2009.
Tourists appreciate the unique natural conditions of the landscape for recreation and opportunities for experiencing nature: each year 10 million overnight guests and 30 – 40 million day visitors come to the Wadden Sea islands and the mainland coast spanning from Texel in the Netherlands to Skallingen in Denmark, being one of the most popular holiday destinations.
Tourism is one of the most important economic factor for the Wadden Sea region and with a yearly turnover of 3 to 5 Billion Euro this industry contributes largely to preserve jobs in the region.
With the touristic use of the area yet also the risk occurs that the protection and conservation of the World Heritage Wadden Sea could be harmed by new touristic developments. The transnational project “PROWAD”, being funded by the EU via the Interreg IV B North Sea Program, constitutes the framework for the development of countervailing strategies: How can sustainable tourism be guided into safe ways to minimize the environmental impact that may come with touristic activities in the World Heritage Wadden Sea area?
PROWAD will enlighten the perspectives and opportunities induced by the World Heritage designation as a driver of socio-economic development and sustainable tourism in the Wadden Sea region.
The World Heritage designation can be used as a quality brand, and as a tool to develop powerful new identities for places, and powerful programmes of actions to change places fundamentally. To reach this, it is of importance of how the management organisations and stakeholders perceive the World Heritage Site status. This will very much determine the perspectives and the values and gains the status brings to a region. The Wadden Sea property is one and indivisible. Only by joining forces will the true potential of Wadden Sea brand be used.