The Andalusian sky as touristic drive and natural heritage, this is the centre of the I Conference on Astronomical Tourism in Andalusia, that will be held at the science museum Parque de las Ciencias in Granada, from the 28th to the 30th of April 2014. The event will join agents from the fields of rural, active and scientific tourism, managers of protected natural areas, local politicians and representatives, managers of cultural and touristic resources, educators and specialists on scientific public outreach.
Under the motto 'Come to know the best sky of Europe', the conference will place the first step towards including the night sky as a natural resource in the Andalusian offer of rural, active and scientific tourism and, at the same time, the meeting will promote the creation of new resources and their insertion into the already existing touristic tissue. The event intends, also, promoting high quality night skies as an identity symbol of Andalusia, underlining its scientific, cultural and leisure use. It is important to stress the role of a sustainable design of outdoor lighting and its effects not only for the reduction of light pollution, but also to diminish energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases through an efficient energy management.
The conference is promoted by the Ministries for Tourism and Commerce, and for the Environment and Territory Management, of the Regional Government of Andalusia (Junta de Andalucía), with the Andalusian Foundation for the Spread of Innovation and Knowledge (Descubre Foundation, promoted by the Ministry for Economy, Innovation, Science and Employment of Junta de Andalucía) and the German-Spanish Astronomical Centre (Calar Alto Observatory).
This conference strengthens the strategy of the Ministry for Tourism and Commerce to promote inland tourism, and for attracting visitors to this region outside the sun-and-beach season. The event is framed, too, in the actions related with the development of the Andalusian law for the protection of night sky, and it is a part of the Andalusian strategy for public outreach in astronomy of Descubre Foundation.
This interdisciplinary meeting will join outstanding speakers from Spain and abroad, that will offer a landscape on astro-tourism in three thematic blocks. The first one, 'The sky as a natural touristic resource', will focus on the day and night-time sky as an integral part of natural landscape, and on the possibilities of astro-tourism for the promotion and development of facilities, activities and contents, and the opportunities that it offers for young entrepreneurs with a scientific background. In this frame, one of the main goals of the conference will be gathering a commercial fair for the promotion of enterprises related to all aspects of this subject.
The second block, 'Protecting the night sky', will be devoted to the quality of the sky in Andalusia, and to its protection as a key factor to value and to preserve this resource. All environmental, cultural and scientific aspects of light pollution will be covered. Finally, the third block, 'Quality accreditation and certification', will be centered on the science of sky quality, education and accreditation of touristic agents for the exploitation of the night sky as a resource in active tourism, and to the processes to certify the quality of the sky.
Several parallel activities will be offered, such as a planetarium session followed by a live observation of the sky from the facilities of the science museum Parque de las Ciencias, and visits to the astronomical resources of this institution, such as the astronomy garden or the Stevenson reflecting telescope.
The conference will be held at Parque de las Ciencias, the same place, and in dates immediately previous to the XXI Spanish Congress of Astronomy. For this reason, the organizers have foreseen advantages for persons attending both events.
Interested persons can get more information, and formalize their inscription, at www.astroturismoandalucia.es.