Spain’s Gipuzkoa region strikes a balance between conservation and tourism

For the Gipuzkoa province of Spain and the Pyrenees Atlantiques French department, collaboration, education, and raising awareness are key to balancing conservation of the environment and the needs of the public.

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The project helped balance conservation and tourism in the Txingudi marshes of Spain and the Domaine d’Abbadia in France ©TXINBADIA+ The project helped balance conservation and tourism in the Txingudi marshes of Spain and the Domaine d’Abbadia in France ©TXINBADIA+

" Txinbadia has meant a significant improvement in the quality of services offered at the natural enclaves of Plaiaundi, Jaitzubia, and Domaine d'Abbadia, and has allowed for arranging activities for the public with a new perspective and with better resources. Environmental education, awareness, and information tools have been created to raise awareness about the necessity to respect and preserve the environmental values of the planet. "

Joseba Ruiz de Loizaga Lafuente, Basque Government Head of Environmental Training

The Txingudi marshes of Spain and the Domaine d’Abbadia in Corniche Basque, France are in an environmentally sensitive cross-border area. They are very popular with tourists – seeing over 400 000 visitors every year – and located in a densely populated area. As a result, the area has long struggled to strike the right balance between conservation and public use.

Thanks to the EU-funded TXINBADIA+ project, that balance has been achieved through a collaboration involving environmental education and careful management of public use of this unique coastal area. 

Developing a cooperative network

The primary aim of the project was to improve the quality and conservation status of the habitat and bay. To do this, different territorial actors worked together and visitors and users were made aware of the importance of the area.

Specifically, the project involved five activities:

  • Exchange of experiences: technical visits to enclaves and reference facilities and joint working sessions to improve professional skills and create meeting times and spaces between professionals from both territories;
  • Improvement of spaces and facilities: creation of infrastructure in natural spaces and use of equipment to reconcile conservation and public use. Development of the master plan, public use plan and drafting construction projects;
  • Environmental education, awareness, and information activities: programmes, events, and activities geared towards different audiences to make the natural and cultural values of the area better known;
  • Communication and dissemination: distribution of information about the project and to raise awareness about specific environmental issues;
  • Coordination: action dedicated to managing the project itself (coordination, monitoring, and evaluation), including technical meetings, cooperation committees, expenditure certifications, reports, etc.

A lasting impact

The main outcome of this effort is the creation of a network of all the facilities and organisations dedicated to promoting the territory’s natural values – both for environmental and tourism purposes. As a result, there is a greater knowledge about the instruments, procedures, and equipment needed to manage public use and environmental education.

Even though the project will be closed soon, Txinbadia+ continues to have an impact. The communication channels and the cooperation network continue to generate more knowledge and develop new programmes and activities for promoting and preserving this important environmental area.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Enabling the Txinbadia Network to Harmonize Public Use and Conservation in Protected Natural Spaces (TXINBADIA+)” is EUR 3 744 659, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 434 028 through the “Interreg V-A - Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA)” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.


Draft date