The Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara became the most valuable touristic zone of Extremadura in 2017, getting the best rating given by tourists, 8,46, according to a survey relesed by the Touristic Observatory of Extremadura.
This study is based on the result of hundred of satisfaction questionnaires distributed to all the touristic information offices and interpretation centers located across the lenght and breadh of Extremadura.
Although the Spanish geopark is not nearly one of the most visited sites of the region, It is gaining visitors along the years who widely recognize having had an amazing experience.
Hospitality was the aspect of this zone of the province of Cáceres that more attracted the attention of tourists getting the best mark, 9. Moreover, the Geopark gastronomy was head and shoulders over the rest of touristic sites, with an 8,4.
In general, the Extremadura touristic sector got the average rating of 8.
The Council of the Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara has recently establish new ambitious goals to mantein the title of UNESCO Global Geopark awarded in 2011. The current title will expire next year, so the Direction of the Geopark held a meeting in february to establish a working plan.
The main objective is to boost the participation of the population. The first step was to raise the Unesco flag in all the town halls as a “symbol of hard work and the strong consensus among the 19 municipalities located in the Geopark”, the president Charo Cordero said.
Apart from investing in constructing new interpretation centers and refurbishing rural roads and hiking itinerarys, the Geopark is utterly determined to rise its influence on social media and increase expenses in touristic promotion in order to attract more tourism after getting 34.886 visits last year.
Guadalupe, in the heart of the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara geopark, has won the national contest “Luce tu Pueblo” being named “the most beauty and good village of Spain”. The second pilgrimage site of the country got the first place in an online polling organized by the chocolat chain Ferrero Rocher, rewarding Guadalupe an imposing Christmas illumination.
The recognition comes after being announced this historic village of the Caceres province is going to become new member of the prestigious Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain from 1 January 2018 on thanks its architectural beauty, cultural heritage, valuable traditions and natural enviroment.
The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe is the crown jewel of the village. I have already wrote about it in “Guadalupe: an appealing Spanish pilgrimace place”. Tourists are not just astonish by the Monastery, but also the local gastronomy and the geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara. La Villuerca (1.600 meters high) and The Ark of Water are some of the must-see geosites just a few minutes driving or some hours hiking from Guadalupe.
The GGN presentation was run by its president, Nickolas Zouros. He flagged up that UNESCO geoparks celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism, and therefore they must make a significant contribution to sustainable development in 2017. At the same time, Zouros praised the people who «add value of a rich geological heritage» because «this is not only about rocks», he added.
Moreover, the spanish geoparks network took advantage of this event to launch “Geoparques”, the first publication that gather the 11 geoparks in Spain. The book offers a totally different way of tourism consisting on a mixture of the traditional rural tourism with the knowlege of the origin of the Earth.
The second edition of “Geodisea” consists of 44 activities related to geology, gastronomy and cultural heritage in the area of influence of Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark. All the activities are held in most of the villages of this region of Extremadura (Spain) from the 22nd October to the 6th November. Click here to see the programme (in spanish).
I would underline three activities: The First Archaeological Congress (on 22nd October in Berzocana), The route called”Isabel La Católica” (hiking trip from Cañamero to Guadalupe on the 30th October) and a street market that shows the magnificent gastronomy you can find in the geopark (on the 5th November in Guadalupe).
Searching fossils, cultural displays, folk music and live cooking are also scheduled. Undoubtedly, this annual event is the best way to know every place of the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark.
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