Natural Andorra by National Geographic

THE PLACE WHERE IDEAS GROW

While the first Natural Andorra project showcased the country’s flora and fauna through audiovisual content created by the explorer Jaime Rojo, this new project by Andorra Turisme and National Geographic looks at ways of mitigating the impact of tourism on the environment and on people. How? By first answering the question: How can we help improve the relationship between our environment, Andorra’s natural landscapes, and visitors to make it smoother and more eco-friendly for everyone?

To this end, under the title “Natural Andorra: The Place Where Ideas Grow”, Andorra Turisme and National Geographic have enlisted Xavier Verdaguer, a specialist in innovation processes and CEO of the Silicon Valley–based company Imagine Creativity Center, to direct and coordinate this research work.

Scope and objectives: Sport, Wellbeing and Premium services

Verdaguer and his team set objectives based on three aspects of the innovation process under the guidelines of Andorra Turisme: Sport, Wellbeing and Premium services. Working on the premise that innovation works when there is diversity, six task forces were formed, two for each aspect, combining local talent with the impetus of foreign (international) creative individuals and entrepreneurs.

These international and multidisciplinary groups have been working intensely on research to come up with a series of ideas in response to the challenges facing tourism in our country, following the three lines of work set out in the project. Each team was made up of one person from the country, one from the academic environment and one with professional experience in the chosen subject.

National Geographic label

Alongside the teams’ research work, National Geographic explorer Javier Corso shadowed the teams and particularly the three people from Andorra who were chosen for their innovative initiatives – Xary Lopez, Marta Rosinach and Josep Areny – to document the whole work process on film.

The explorer has produced a series of outreach and creative pieces, which can be seen in various formats and media such as National Geographic’s TV and YouTube channels, social media, or on the National Geographic website. His work and images contextualise and highlight the value of each of the characters involved, who demonstrate their idiosyncrasy, capacity for innovation and vision of the present and future of the country.

Innovative people

Xary Lopez, a former professional cyclist, is the creator of “Andona”, the first female cycling team in Andorra to promote women’s sports and social inclusion through group cycling. This is an activity that is led from the grassroots upwards in order to develop a cycling culture with strong roots in Andorra and its natural environment.

Marta Rosinach discovered the peace and security in Andorra that she was missing in her country of origin. As a yoga and Pilates teacher, she combines these specialities with alternative therapies focused on body awareness and personal growth, all in a natural environment that is an endless source for personal wellbeing. Despite being within our reach, we too often forget this space and need to be reminded of how fortunate we are to have the chance to live here and benefit from this privilege.

Josep Areny knows how to preserve a traditional spirit and values in the “premium” services he offers at the Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa because of his work at Casa Calbó in Soldeu, which in the middle of the last century was also an inn that welcomed travellers. His most personal project was carried out in the Vall d’Incles, where he restored the “Mantgautxa borda” mountain lodge, creating a unique, premium experience that is sustainable and respects the territory and surrounding landscape.

Research and projects

After each team had completed the research and study carried out individually and online, they all met in Andorra to pool their suggestions. This intense work served to finalise and define the ideas that have shaped the “Natural Andorra: The Place Where Ideas Grow” project.
There are six innovative ideas, two per aspect, which can be realistically implemented in our country. They can be put into practice thanks to public–private sector synergies. These ideas are all part of the final project to impact directly on tourism, the environment and people, and aim to improve the tourism experience in a responsible way.

Find out about all these ideas and participants, which have resulted from Andorra Turisme’s collaboration with National Geographic!