The objective of the visit was to learn in detail the good practices proposed by the region of Murcia in the OurWay , an Interreg Europe project, in order to support the implementation of the action plans of the visiting partners from Poland and Ireland.

The agenda included a Seminar and a field visit.

The Seminar was held at the Murcia Tourism Institute and was attended by the general directors of the European Union and the Tourism Institute, members of the General Directorate of the Natural Environment, and representatives of the Consortium of Greenways of the Murcia Region, the European Greenways Association, and stakeholders directly involved in the development of the Good Practices linked to the Greenway of the Northwest of Murcia. In addition, to the OurWay partners from Poland and Ireland-who had selected the best practices of the Murcia Region- their Action Plans.

The presentations and the round table focused on the three main themes of the project: governance, financing, and promotion. Therefore, the whole experience of the Vías Verdes Consortium was presented in detail as an example of governance, including the legal framework, financing, projects, planning, coordination, and special projects such as the recovery of old stations as hostels…).

Within the good practices of promotion, the 90K Camino de la Cruz race was presented. The race starts in the city of Murcia and finishes in Caravaca de la Cruz, and was organised for the first time in 2017, as a special event of the Jubilee year. The 90K race has become an annual event, organised by a local association, with strong support from the local community, and the Consorcio de las Vías Verdes de Murcia, as the route mostly follows the greenway. Private companies, and local and regional authorities also support the race.

The Prison Governor of Murcia Social Insertion Centre, Carlos Fernandez Gómez, presented the initiative “Via Compromiso:” the collaboration of convicts in the work of the greenways. The Murcia Social Insertion Centre is an open regime and proposes alternative measures to prison to convicts. The main tasks the convicts carry out are related to cleaning and clearing the pathway, repairing baskets and bins, watering plants, and any other tasks related to maintaining the place. The collaboration program is carried out through an agreement with the Consortium of Greenways of the Murcia region.

The next day of the study visit was spent directly on the Greenway of the Northwest of Murcia, to learn the details of good practice on the ground. The walking visit included numerous stops to explain details of management, technical information about the infrastructure, and natural and cultural values. It was a very useful and, at the same time, very nice and pleasant visit, prepared with great care to show all the details that make this greenway so attractive.

The active participation of representatives directly involved in the whole value chain of the Greenway -design, maintenance, nature, culture, monitoring, mayors and councillors, greenway service companies, and restaurants- gave a real added value to the visit. It also displayed that everyone’s work is essential for the smooth running of the whole chain: success is based on cooperation.

> The Consortium of Greenways of the Murcia region, an example of good governance practices, is essential as it coordinates and promotes all the actions of the greenways in the Region, and works closely with those responsible in each municipality, who are equally essential for the governance of the greenway. Having the responsible person identified and a systematic and direct contact is key to continue improving the greenways and quickly resolve any issues that may arise along the more than 175 km of the Murcia greenway network. As important as is the determined backing of the public administration and stakeholders.