Starlight Tourist Destinations are locations with ideal conditions for observing the stars and where light pollution is controlled. This makes them logical destinations for tourism based on the appreciation of the sky as part of the natural world.
A Starlight Tourist Destination must not only prove the quality of its air, and the means to ensure its protection but they must also have appropriate tourism infrastructure (accommodation, means of observation available to visitors, trained staff for astronomical interpretation, etc.) and its integration into nocturnal nature. If the site does not have yet these facilities and activities, the Foundation evaluates the project to develop them in the future.
This Certification was born with the aim of fostering, worldwide, the improvement of the quality of tourist experiences and the protection of the night skies in Starlight Destinations. The criteria were established in December 2010, in UNWTO Centre in Madrid, with representatives of UNESCO, UNESCO-Mab and IAC.
Moreover, Starlight as a whole is an integrated action of UNESCO and is supported by IAU and UNWTO, emerged from the IAC (https://www3.astronomicalheritage.net/index.php/resources/dark-skies-info)
The Starlight Tourist Certification System was created with the aim of fostering, worldwide, the improvement of the quality of tourist experiences and the protection of the night skies in Starlight Destinations.
The award of Starlight Destination Certification follows a specific procedure established by the Foundation.
Actions and benefits of star tourism by Starlight:
- The Starlight Foundation assesses in lighting projects and in the drafting of ordinances and regulations of reduction of the lighting pollution with the subsequent energy and economic saving, helping to preserve natural spaces and fighting the climate change.
- The preservation of the night sky has its direct benefits on biodiversity, the environment and health due to its impact in the chrono disruption or alteration of the circadian cycles of many species included human.
- The starred night is part of a landscape, sky scape, which the population of each territory perceives and which must be added to the rest of the landscapes of the nature.
- We have created a national and international network of sustainable territories/lodgings with which create synergies and export experiences for sustainable economic development.
- The tourism of stars according to the Starlight criteria is a modality of responsible tourism, sustainable and innovative, which promotes the creation of quality employment and the diversification of the current offer of companies and agencies dedicated to the touristic industry.
- The tourism we promote is a powerful tool to disseminate astronomy.
- The star tourism achieves the widening of the overnight stay, achieves the diversification away from seasonal tourism (sky 24 hours x 365 days/year) and the decentralization of the tourist offer.
- The star tourism is a sustainable economy engine and a powerful tool against depopulation.
- It fosters the creation of new areas (recovering some abandoned such as churches, lighthouses, houses of forest rangers, etc.) for the diffusion of astronomy.
- The star tourism from the point of view of Starlight is a generator of quality employment.
- It is a revaluation of the cultural, historic, environmental, of biodiversity, ethnographic, etc. heritage of the territory, since all activities are intended to its preservation, empowering local communities.
- The Starlight Foundation promotes initiatives of inclusive tourism, boosts tourism as a peace instrument in conflict areas and impoverished and promotes sustainable development actions and education in impoverished rural environments.
- The Starlight Foundation draws attention to the role of the woman and girl in science and in astronomy, raising scientific vocations among the younger and empowering the training of women as Starlight monitors.
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