Тhe first face-to-face meeting and Intensive Training Workshop of the NATOUR project took place on April 4-8, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. The event was held at the EXE Campus Hotel and the School of Tourism and Hotel Management of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, bringing together 24 representatives from all ten partner institutions.
On the first day of the workshop, each university presented their institution and exchanged experiences in teaching Ecotourism and Interpretive nature guiding. The consortium was updated on the project status and partners agreed on methodologies and structure to be followed in the coming months.
The second day was dedicated to Steering and Evaluation Committee (SEC) meeting with focus on the project management, as well as a specific session on the Quality Assurance Systems at the respective universities. The consortium also took part in a Capacity-building workshop, where partners discussed the topic of blended learning and joint implementation of study programmes.
The third day was devoted to a full-day field trip to different ecotourism destinations and interpretive nature guiding activities in Catalonia. In the morning, partners visited the Mongrí, Medes Islands, and Baix Ter Natural Park. They were accompanied by two Postgraduate course lecturers in Ecotourism and Nature Guide at UAB: Josep Capellà, consultant in ecotourism and sustainable tourism, and Boris Weitzmann, nature guide and guide trainer of the natural park. The group was also received by the mayor of Torroella de Montgrí – L’Estartit, who presented La Pletera natural area. In the afternoon, participants visited the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, one of Catalonia’s most emblematic protected areas. They explored the La Fageda d’en Jordà forest along with Mike Lockwood, a Postgraduate teacher and professional nature guide.
The fourth day was devoted to delving deeper into showing the context of nature guiding and the use of natural heritage interpretation techniques, first through a guided outing in the form of a participatory workshop, and later through different presentations by various representatives of the partner universities of the project.
The last day made it possible to establish agreements regarding the responsibilities of each university, as well as the distribution of topics when preparing the learning materials for the NATOUR Programme. The learning content will be later available on the project’s website through its Virtual Learning Gateway. Finally, partners discussed the possible dates for the next face-to-face meeting and Ecotourism Training Camp that will be held in the Azores Islands.