The first initiation course to astrotourism organized by the Diputación has had a great response, fulfilling the expectations of its organizer, Prodestur, the tourist agency of the provincial institution. Fifty-one attendees showed their interest in the introduction to what is known as star tourism and concluded the course. Of these, most corresponded to the accommodation sector and active tourism companies throughout the province, which see in this resource an important attraction to add to their proposals.
The deputy of Tourism, Magdalena Rodriguez, who opened the course, said that this activity, as well as novel, can contribute significantly to increase overnight stays in establishments (one of the claims of the sector) and boost tourism in the areas rural
The tourist potential of the observation of the sky, according to the experiences that have arisen in other countries and the use of the excellent conditions that our province treasures to carry out this practice, led Prodestur to carry out this course. And is that recent studies handled by the provincial tourist department conclude that the tourism of observation of stars increases overnight stays exponentially. Nearby destinations have increased them by almost 400% since they offer this modality.
For two days, the attendees were introduced tol astroturism world and they have been trained to carry out activities related to the exploitation of this resource, giving basic and fundamental notions of astronomy, as well as guidelines for the development of tourism of the stars in the area.
The teachings have combined theory and practice and have been divided into two major sections: the first one has been an astronomy module taught by Dr. Antonia M. Varela and included basic knowledge about the knowledge of the Universe: Solar System, celestial mechanics , galaxies or handling of instruments for astronomical observation. The second one was offered by Maribel Aguilar and was specifically related to astrotourism. He has touched on subjects such as the opportunities and business management of astronomical tourism, the incorporation of the night sky as a tourist and cultural value, the ways of explaining and interpreting the sky or the creation of routes and viewpoints.
According to the organizers, the assistants have shown a high level of acceptance for the lessons received, which could continue in the future and take care of a specific training for monitors.
The course has been taught by the Starlight Foundation, an entity created by the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), whose main purpose is the dissemination of astronomy and the promotion, coordination and management of the Starlight movement. The Foundation is responsible for verifying that the destination is suitable to be considered as suitable for astrotourism and that it can enter a network of accommodation and places of interest that has many possibilities to attract the arrival of new customers, both in Spain and the abroad moved by this type of astronomical observation references.
In this first action the Diputación will pay eight certifications to two separate accommodations, which will be the most suitable to practice star tourism, according to the technical criteria of the foundation.
From Prodestur it is wanted to make clear that practically all the Segovian territory is apt for the astronomical observation, and gradually the project will extend to all the province. In this first phase, actions have begun in the broadest areas of concentration of suitable points such as the Sierra Norte del Guadarrama, the Sierra de Ayllón and the Sabinares de Somosierra. In these areas we also want to offer municipalities the possibility of being Starlight destinations if they assume the commitment to carry out measures to mitigate light pollution.
Star tourism is an emerging segment of the tourism industry that not only has a cultural and economic value in itself, but also means an element of mobilization for other activities and facilities in areas that, despite having in the wild their main value, they need to expand their offer and implement factors of dynamisation for their economy.
This new tourism of the stars requires the training of people who specialize in driving groups at night and in the day, so that visitors, in addition to enjoying nature, can enrich, through disclosure, their knowledge of the Universe , seen this one with the naked eye or with
simple observation instruments.