Responsible tourism: Fuerteventura photography vacation in Spain
We aim to bring science and tourism together in a bid to protect our "dark" night skies. Most people are not aware that we are loosing our dark night skies and the relevance that this has on all life on the planet. By providing star observations, astronomy courses and night photography workshops, we can inspire tourists and residents alike to protect this vital part of our heritage. Enrique, “El hombre de las Estrellas” explains why a dark sky is important and how we can easily put in various measures to protect it. There are still nomadic tribes that rely on star navigation, as, incredibly, does the dung beetle. The connection with turtles and the moon is well documented. Increasing light pollution can confuse baby turtles, as they follow this light and not the moonlight!
We opened in January 2013 so we are fairly new. At present we are spreading information through social network sites, but in the future our aim is to be active in local educational institutes. We also encourage research students, from around the world, the chance to carry out specific scientific research regarding animal/plant dependence on a dark night sky in connection with astronomical studies.
We are supporting the local community on various levels. We only support local restaurants that source their produce locally, and by doing so, ensure that our money circulates and supports the local economy, and reduces the carbon footprint. We take our clients away from the touristic hotspots, into more rural areas, supporting independent businesses and highlighting the true beauty and culture of the island.
Fuerteventura has now received ”Starlight Reserve” status granted by the Starlight Foundation in partnership with UNESCO. This includes two initiatives: Starlight Reserve, that is based on scientific findings related to sky quality and secondly Starlight Tourist Destination, that is based on tourist access to the stars and the dissemination of information regarding this environment. We support both initiatives, and work alongside the island council and tourism board to help achieve these classifications that will undoubtably increase general tourism numbers.
In the future, we aim is to work alongside educational institutions to get kids inspired about science. Science is an integral part of our ever day lives. Literally everything we use from our mobile phone to ordinary kitchen appliances to the way we travel originates from the basis of science. We will also be organizing light pollution campaigns and supporting “star counting” observations.