There is great news from La Val (Alta Badia, South Tyrol). After the zero edition of the Dolomites UNESCO Labfest (September 2014) celebrating #Haymaking in the meadows and conservation of the landscape, the Tourist Board and Municipality of La Val have decided to call themselves the ‘village of mountain meadows’. According to the Tourist Board of La Val, Labfest was a great opportunity to reflect on the unique character of the village and find the best strategies to promote it. UNESCO listing allowed them to take a moment to reflect on the future of the local community and come up with new, innovative ways of promoting the territory of the World Heritage Site without jeopardising its conservation and protection. The La Val experience is a good example of how UNESCO recognition is also a great opportunity from a socio-economic point of view.
But what happened on those three days of sunshine during an otherwise rainy summer in 2014? Thanks to the enthusiasm and creativity of the ISOIPSE Association, to dozens of volunteers and the collaboration of the residents of La Val, #Haymaking was the ideal platform to discuss a number of issues concerning management of the grasslands and conservation of the landscape, depopulation and moving back to the mountains, tradition and contemporary life during workshops, excursions, conferences, shows and projections. The format chosen for the occasion was participation: residents, producers, administrators and technical experts all had the chance to say their bit, as a single mosaic of content and proposals emerged.
Taking their lead from this positive experience, in June 2015, one year after Labfest #Haymaking, La Val was awarded European “Wanderdorf/European Hiking Village” certification, bearing the slogan “Vare pur vare sön pra da munt in flu tl monn imponёnt dles Dolomites/ Passo dopo passo sui prati in fiore nel mondo delle Dolomiti/ Schritt für Schritt über blühende Bergwiesen in die majestätische Welt der Dolomiten wandern” (Step after step in the flowering meadows of the majestic world of the Dolomites). A number of local hotels and accommodation have already applied for “Wanderspezialist” certification, while the community is in the process of defining products and themes linked to hospitality involving the meadows and their conservation, a magnificent local heritage.
A good example of how UNESCO recognition can present a golden opportunity for local areas!