Starlight tourism: a sustainable approach to stargazing

Starlight tourism is a sustainable initiative that seeks to ensure the protection of the world’s night skies from light pollution and, in turn, to promote stargazing in tourist destinations that offer the right conditions.

The Starlight Foundation, a non-profit organization, is in charge of promoting this initiative and certifying tourist destinations that meet the established criteria in terms of night sky quality, accessibility, tourism offer and commitment of local authorities and the population to the preservation of the environment and the protection of the night skies.

The quality of the night sky is a fundamental factor for Starlight tourism, so destinations must be located in places away from light pollution and have dark and clear skies for optimal stargazing. In addition, they must involve the local population in the protection and conservation of the natural areas designated for these activities.

The certification of Starlight tourist destinations implies a commitment on the part of local authorities and the population to protect and conserve the environment and reduce light pollution. This has a positive impact on both the local economy and the promotion of sustainable tourism. In addition, this type of tourism contributes to the diversification of the tourist offer in the areas where it is practiced, which in turn generates new opportunities for employment and economic development in rural areas. In this way, it could be an important tool for promoting the sustainable development of local communities and the conservation of natural resources.

In 2022, GlobalCAD, together with the Spanish Cooperation Agency (AECID), the Yetapá Foundation and Ideas for Change, implemented a post-Covid tourism recovery and revival project in the National Park Iberá, one of the largest natural parks in Argentina, located in the northwest of the country. The partnership created to carry out the project sought to create an innovative regenerative tourism offer with local communities as protagonists. The aim of the project was to train and accompany – with online and offline resources – the most vulnerable communities of Iberá to rediscover their starry sky as a key resource to co-create a unique offer of ecotourism products and services.

Iberá Park, Argentina. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Recently, Iberá Park received the distinction of Starlight Reserve and “Iberá Park: Concepción del Yaguareté Corá, Loreto and Chavarría”, as a Starlight Tourism Destination. This opportunity opens new paths for the area and the people who live there, with greater opportunities for economic development and training in sustainable tourism.

Laura J. Bolé
Laura J. Bolé
Laura is an expert in institutional and corporate communication and public affairs. She works as a consultant at GlobalCAD supporting the Communication department and the implementation of communication for development projects.