S.J. Ribas (1) , J. Vilajoli (2)
1 – Parc Astronòmic Montsec, Consell Comarcal de la Noguera,
Camí del coll d’Ares s/n E25691 Àger, Lleida, Spain
2 – Consell Comarcal de la Noguera, C. Angel Guimera 28-30
E25600 Balaguer, Lleida, Spain
Montsec is a calcareous mountain range more than 40 kilometres long in the regions of Catalunya and Aragon in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. The Catalonian part includes around 20 municipalities in the counties of Pallars Jussà and La Noguera.
This area showed excellent parameters to develop activities around astronomy and dark skies. For this reason the Government of Catalonia promoted the creation and development of Parc Astronòmic Montsec as a tool to help in the economic development
of the region. This development gives the chance to stop the loss of population and the creation and upgrading of new touristic facilities related to dark skies and astronomical activities.
In 2013 more than 1700 km2 were declared as Starlight Touristic Destination and part of this area became Starlight Reserve thanks to its wonderful parameters of the night
sky and the actions taken in the area to preserve it.
Since 2012 the first’s analyses of the economic and social impact have been done in the area. For example the results shown by the evaluation process for the development of the ‘Pla de Desenvolupament Sostenible del Turisme Montsec 2020’ [SomMontsec 2012] as strategic plan for tourism in the area. In 2014 a new study was done studying the visitors of Parc Astronòmic Montsec and how they participate in the local economy and in alternative activities in Montsec area. This 2014 study has been updated with 2017 visitors and economy data available.
These studies give us important results in the improvement of Montsec area. For example the number of accommodation facilities has been doubled in the last decade, the stop of the loss of population in the area or the estimation of close to 2.0MEuros of economic activity generated in the area by the visitors of Parc Astronòmic Montsec.
light pollution, economy, astrotourism.