The Network Aspiration


Mission and Objectives statement


What is Statement
A Vision statement outlines what the organization wants to be, or how it wants the world/environment in which it operates to be.

  • It concentrates on the future.
  • It is a source of inspiration.
  • It provides clear decision-making criteria.
The most important network of sustainable tourism destinations in Europe.The EDEN Network wants to become one of the most important contributor in consolidating the image and profile of Europe as a collection of sustainable and high-quality tourist destinations.The EDEN Network will become an increasingly influential and authoritative voice, recognised by the NTOs, media, tour operators and tourists. When people want to know what already works in sustainable tourism, and what might work in the future, they will refer to the network. The idea is that in the next future (2020)  the EDEN Network would consist of more than the actual  destinations. Why?

  • This is one of the key driver to ensure financial sustainability of the network. As emerging destinations have tiny budgets, we need a large base of members to ensure low costs in participating and, at the same time, the network benefits.
  • Follow- up actions in accordance with the  Brussels Declaration and the European Commission’s Communication COM(2010)352 final “Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe”.


What is Statement Rationale
A Mission statement tells the fundamental purpose of EDEN Network. The EDEN Network promotes sustainable tourism by:

  • drawing the attention of tourists, tour operator, media, and institutions to the value and the diversity of emerging European tourist destinations;
  • supporting its members in adopting  good policies and practices;
  • persuading other destinations in Europe to adopt sustainable tourism development models;
This is a restatement that summarizes the  main goals of the EDEN Project and the EDEN Network outlined in the Brussels declaration.This statement makes clear that the Network’s works should:

  • take into account the European Commission’s general policy in  line with new Communication final of which  one of the priorities is “to promote the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality destinations”
  • meet the needs of destination communities.

The European Commission would like  that more  tourist destinations apply sustainable policies. The EDEN  destinations and its local authorities would benefit from joint communication activities and exchange of good practice.


The Statement identifies three main goals. In this section, there are recommendations in order to clarify goals, to define impact and outcomes, and timeframe to achieve them. From time to time the business plan will identify actions to achieve these goals.

The rationale behind this goal is twofold. On one hand, enhanced market visibility (attention of tourists, tour operators) is expected to trigger international arrivals to the Eden destinations. On the other hand, institutional visibility should lead to more favourable policies to small destinations, financial and logistical support.

Main Stakeholders Specific relevant groups
International tourists Recreational clubsScientific ClubsCulture and environmental clubs
Market Makers Tour Operators
Market Influences MediaSocial Networks
Supporters NTOsEU-CommissionGovernments
Contributors Other NetworksUniversities
Community MDOsLocal Development AgenciesLocal AuthoritiesBusiness AssociationsLocal and Environmental associations

Market visibility

Implementing a “label strategy” should enhance market visibility. Considering EDEN as a label, it must be clear that the Network can influence the awareness (target audience is aware of EDEN), the knowledge (target audience knows what is EDEN and, to some extent the liking, (target audience feels good about EDEN).  However, the preference of the label (target audiences considers EDEN destinations in their choice) and the actual choice strongly depend on each destination attractiveness and offer.

There are three main target audiences: tourists, market makers (such as tour operators and travel agents), and market influencers. The business plan should further clarify target groups among these audiences. For instance, environmental and heritage enthusiast clubs could be an efficient way to reach tourists.

The outcomes of market visibility are therefore label a) awareness and  b) knowledge. The business plan should identify metrics and the most cost effective way of measurement. These metrics should be monitored at least every two/three years.

Institutional visibility

Institutions, within this context, are Governments, Agencies (such as National Tourism Organizations), Universities, and similar international networks. The main benefit expected by these institutions is support (financial, lobbying, logistical). For instance, Universities could help in monitoring metrics (logistical), NTOs could help in marketing communication, etc.

The outcome of institutional visibility is facilitation in achieving EDEN and destinations goals. It cannot be measured by specific metrics, but highlighted in form of savings, results achieved in  policies, facilitations for EDEN members, etc.

Supporting EDEN destinations ( Local Authorities (LA), Local Development Agencies (LDA), and Management Destination Organizations (MDO)  in adopting  good policies and practices. The rationale of this goal is clear. The aspiration of the EDEN Network is not simply disseminate good practices, but also to “put them into practice”. There are therefore three types of expected outcome from good practice exchange:

  • Sharing good practices: how many good practice have qualified (i.e. are consistent with good practice guidelines) and have been disseminate yearly?
  • Learning from good practice: how many relationships among members (in terms of study visits, exchange of information) have follow up activities of sharing every year?
  • Implementing good practice:  what changes in the destination management have occurred, according relevant stakeholders (private business) and to what extent EDEN membership has contributed.

Persuading other destinations in Europe to adopt sustainable tourism development models.

The rationale behind this goal is to spread good practices across Europe. What does it mean? How do we know the Network is achieving this goal. It should be clear that persuading it is different from actually applying good practice. Therefore, there could be different indicators to measure effectiveness of the Network in achieving this goal:

  • Weight of the Network in terms of bed capacity, overnight stays in Europe;
  • Number of destinations participating in  activities to spread good practices (such us open conferences, website contacts, publications distributed, etc).
  • Number of destinations joining the Network;

Indicators should be monitored as it is suggested by ETIS


Sustainable Tourism

EDEN Network embraces the concept of sustainable tourism as a constant improvement of the  balance between running financially viable businesses, satisfying guests, protecting natural, cultural  environment, and supporting local communities. A sustainable tourism destinations is where:

  1. The tourism operators are able to reinvest in their business, and attract and retain skilled local workers, because they (business) are financial profitable;
  2. The guests are willing to come back and to give enthusiastic references, because their actual experience exceed expectations;
  3. The business are profitable and the tourists experiences are memorable, because the destination community is committed to preserve the natural and cultural heritage, to deliver outstanding service, and to  reduce the environmental footprint.


”Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle

There are no final ideas yet. The concept is under continuous developments. Any destination awarded is “excellent in its and maintain it as best as it can.

Definition of excellence, that is a pre-requisite to  designate future network destinations, should take into consideration:

  1. what makes an excellence destination, primarily from the point of view tourists;
  2. what type of evidence would prove that a destination is excellent and how that could be demonstrated
  3. how the information system can provide information about excellent services and encourage improvement.

Defining what is a good practice

There is no universally accepted definition of a “good practice.”  However, common definitions in different fields indicate, that a “good practice” is a practice that upon rigorous evaluation, demonstrates success, has had an impact, and can be replicated. Therefore, a “practice”, in order to qualify as good, should  state clearly:

  1. what was the problem to solve or the opportunity to exploit;
  2. what evidences (facts, data) prove that the problem has been solved or the opportunity exploited.

In this context, adoption of certification labels, quality management system, community planning, etc, are not relevant if described per se. What are important are the impacts (changes occurred). Therefore, adopting quality labels, for instance, is a good practice only if can be clearly showed the link with results achieved.

ANNEX 1 – LABEL VALUES Key ideas/words

These are “key words” and concepts that have been stated in previous EDEN Network meeting and in members feedback to the key Label questions.

1.     Destination as whole

  • Places “not traditional tourism” with the visitor density rating from “low” to “very low” in comparison with the national average.
  • Places remote from populous or much-traveled regions.
  • Places of personal interest not listed in every guidebook.
  • Scenic beauty: all EDEN destinations are inherently scenically attractive
  • Destinations off the beaten track, where visitors can get a real insight into the local culture, heritage and lifestyle, which reflects the true essence of the country.
  • Peaceful destinations
  • Places with a different ‘approach’ of ‘dealing’ with guests or in the way of attracting them
  • Places with a history or with events in the past that are ‘special’ for Europe as a whole in a certain way
  • Landmarks’ available, so stunning for picture taking in a way
  • Unique natural heritage, undiscovered by international guests.
  • Fascination of novelty.

2. Natural Heritage

  • When cultural landscape (made by man, par example by agriculture): reasonably unique within its country
  •  When wild nature, reasonably unique in its country in the way it can be discovered without ‘hurting’ nature

3. Cultural Heritage

  •  Provide holiday in conjunction of landscape – Human – Culture
  •  Well kept cultural scenery that is different from the rest in the country
  •  Events that are typical for the region and express what the region is

4. People

  •  The inhabitants are involved (in events, cultural activities, maintenance)
  •  Inhabitants who are willing to receive guests and to show them their region with pride
  •  Tourists and visitors are ‘guests’ and are met as such

5. Experiences

  • Authentic experiences: Visitors will experience the real country and culture as it is lived every day, not cultural shows and tourism experiences that have been specifically developed for visitors.
  •  Use of domestic products in the food, wood from the region,
  • Emphasis on environmentally friendly mobility and energy efficient forms of energy
  •  Activities and offers are made in a way that guests can experience a region from within (with inhabitants, on locations that are normally difficult to visit)
  •  The offer is structured in a way guests are able to ‘learn’ something from the region, not only ‘fun aspects’
  •  Guest are placed in the position that they have to participate to get the experience of a region
  • How can you ensure/measure that the Label promise is kept?
  •  A questionnaire every year + a Round Table of local tourism actors (twice a year)
  • Quality control (i.e. Qualitätslenkung by the Biosphere Reserve Management)