This summer, one of the parishes of Andorra – Ordino – could receive the status of a biosphere reserve, said the mayor of Ordino, Àngel Mortés

This summer, one of the parishes of Andorra - Ordino - could receive the status of a biosphere reserve, said the mayor of Ordino, Àngel Mortés

On September 27, 2019, Ordino submitted its application to UNESCO to obtain a Biosphere Reserve status. The response could come this summer. Ordino’s consul, Àngel Mortés, explained to us how it could affect the development of tourism in the parish:

“Obtaining the status of Biosphere Reserve will be a recognition by UNESCO of Ordino’s exceptional world-class value in terms of territory and landscape. Thus, we would become part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (701 reserves in 124 countries). This program is part of the UNESCO world program “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB).

A lot of work has been done to prepare for this submission, including seminars and an in-depth analysis of the territory that we want to preserve in terms of nature, quality of life and architecture.

Tourism is a key point for us. The biosphere reserve status will allow us to determine exactly such a tourism model that we need, meaning one that respects the environment.

We base all our actions to attract tourists – local or foreign – on the protection of this model, in both mountain and snow area.

Ordino has an initiative to revive the cultural and historical heritage of the parish. Another project that we want to implement is the promotion of tourism in the original villages of Ordino. The project, called Riberamunt, is a route to the most picturesque places in Ordino.

Another important place of interest is the Sorteny Valley Natural Park, a European monument, characterized by a wide variety of ecosystems, as well as alpine and subalpine vegetation. Thanks to the park, we are part of various international reserve networks, such as the “Parc de Les Tres Nacions” or the “Xarxa Maragda”. It is the first protected natural area in Andorra, which obtained natural park status in 1999. Last year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of this event by improving access to its territory.

An important event for us will be the opening of a new tourist office of Casa de la Muntanya, in March, where a new workspace  and an interactive visitor center will be created. Through projections, 3D glasses and interactive screens, a visitor will discover all the interesting places of Ordino and of Andorra in general. It will be a kind of prelude and virtual experience of what he will find later in reality.

Sports tourism is another interesting sector for Ordino. Mountain races, cycle routes and above all the two elevation points – Coll d’Ordino and Coma del Forat – are attracting more and more runners and cyclists.

Some of the most significant sporting events we have are Borrufa Trophy, Freeride World Tour, Font Blanca (Ecoa Skimo Race), Extreme Casamanya and Volta a Ports d’Andorra.

When it comes to cultural events the most important ones are the Ordino Clàssic and the Mountain and Travel Film Festival (Cicle de cinema de muntanya i de viatges), as well as, the Nit de la Candela and other traditional events like the Falles, the Ball de l’Ossa and the Contrabandists.

Starting next spring, we will also have a cattle fair held here.

If we talk about the environment and sustainable development, there is currently no project implemented without consideration for the environment and without meeting the criteria of sustainable development. Exactly this kind of approach allowed us to nominate Ordino’s candidature to obtain the status of the Biosphere Reserve, mentioned earlier.

The most obvious example is the development of a strategic transport plan for the parish, the aim of which is to encourage the use of buses in instead of personal vehicles, for a symbolic price of 20 cents.

Town planning, tourism and culture are areas that also contribute to the achievement of sustainable development objectives. The use of renewable energies in the administration and management of forests is also our priority. Moreover, we will continue to cooperate with other parks and protected areas in the Pyrenees.

Environmental education is also a very important aspect, and we continue to work in this direction with schools in the country.”

Irina Rybalchenko

Read more: Opinion ...