03 | RETURNAT: A transversal project on nature-based recreation and tourism for sustainability

Organisation. Island Government of Tenerife – Sustainability, Environmental and Safety Area and Open Government, Social Action and Citizen Service Area.
Date. December 2016
Location Tenerife
Project. RETURNAT – A transversal project on nature-based recreation and tourism for sustainability


The Sustainability, Environment and Safety Area is responsible for the management of protected areas and forestry, hunting, waste, environmental education and public use of the island. Its scope of work covers almost 50% of the island’s territory, with almost 100,000 hectares (more than 247,000 acres) of protected areas and woodlands.

This large, protected area coexists with one of the highest population densities in Spain.

The opportunity

The social demand for contact with nature has been a steadily growing reality in recent years, both on the part of the local population and the millions of people who visit Tenerife every year.

In the last few years, in collaboration with other players in the island’s society, several departments of the Island Government of Tenerife have been promoting a series of measures to enhance the value of the island’s natural areas in an effort to respond to this demand in a sustainable way, in other words, without compromising the right of future generations to use them.

Accordingly, we were tasked with drawing up a shared roadmap that would articulate and integrate these ongoing efforts.

The solution

The Public Use Service of the Island Government of Tenerife established a 3-stage strategy: in the first stage, the Sustainability and Environment Area of the Island Government carried out in-house work which included the participation of 8 services, 11 units and up to 28 people in different workshops.

In the second stage and in collaboration with the Citizen Participation Service, other Island Government departments, town halls, the Government of the Canary Islands and public companies linked to the Island Government and related to the issue were consulted.

Overall, more than 95 people took part, including 9 Island Government Areas, 29 town halls and the Government of the Canary Islands. As a result, the vision for 2020 has been established as follows:

“The activities and the facilities that we offer transform society towards sustainability, improve our quality of life, generate employment and local economy, and enhance the value of Tenerife as a sustainable tourist destination”.

To this end, a strategic framework has been established based on 4 goals:

(Goal 01) ollaboration, active listening and innovation.
(Goal 02) A sustainable, integrated and segmented offer.
(Goal 03) Communication and awareness-raising.
(Goal 04) An infrastructure network ready to be enjoyed.


Leadership for Sustainability, Participatory Processes

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