Tourism is one of the most important economical sectors of the global economy, probably the largest industrial section on the planet.
The speed of travel connected to the homogenization of cultures have incremented, in the past decades, a model based on a massive consumerism tourism.
The responsible alternative, sustainable and slow
But an alternative to this does exist. There are some who believe that: “There are no bad travellers, only misinformed ones”.
Responsible tourism. What does it mean?
Responsible tourism is built upon the three main pillars that sustain the concept of sustainability: social, economic and environmental justice.
And, indeed, traveling responsibly requires, first and foremost, a careful attention to sustainability.
This means to abandon the “touch and go” tourism and embrace a slowmode instead, that would leave the traveller able to immerse in the places and discover their culture.
This means living the journey not as a product to consume, but rather as an experience to feel.
Slow tourism is currently taking places outside the mainstream circle, as it happens in big cities or tropical island. It instead develops in lesser-known places, where nature still prospers, and tradition are still alive.
The responsible tourist is conscious of the fact that he is not just a client, but a protagonist of a biunivocal relation. The responsible tourism in fact involves the whole host community, that can gain great benefits from this experience. In practice, there is no one unique form of responsible tourism. To summarize, to be a good traveller you need to be conscious, respectful and discreet. It is mandatory to know the habits, costumes and tradition of the place being visited, to respect its culture without invading the inhabitants’ living space.
For slow tourism, the goal is the journey itself
Sustainability and respect go hand in hand..
Travelling responsibly doesn’t just mean limiting our own impact on the environment, but also to adapt to the habits of the place, to become immersed in the hosting culture and sustain it economically.
As suggested by the Vademecum curated by the Associazione Italiana per il Turismo Responsabile (AITR): «Use the services provided by the local population, in particular transports and accommodation facilities. This way you will get to know the Country and its inhabitantsbetter and you will promote local economy.».
Choosing to travel slow has numerous advantages also on a personal level. First of all, health, physical and mental, because it allows the discovering of ancient way of travelling, that offers the time needed to get in contact with the surrounding environment.
Furthermore, the responsible tourism offers freedom: freedom of choice, especially because it allows us to grasp how much our decision, however small, can really make the difference, for the best or the worst.
Where and how: the sustainable tourism in Italy
Italy is an ideal country for slow tourism.
Full of cultures, landscapes and tradition, her numerous historical Borghi, natural parks, local and traditional cultures passed down generation from generation are just waiting to be discovered. By foot or bike, exploring Italy’s inland – tasting her ancient recipes , listening to all the different dialects – could prove to be a surprising adventure.
La Compagnia dei Cammini offers routes and paths that cross the less touristy areas, still authentic, of the Italian regions, and organizes trips on foot in Italy and abroad.
For those who, on the other hand, would like to use alternative vehicles, in Italy there are 6,000 km of tourist bike routes and several panoramic railway sections, outside of the high-speed routes.
On foot, by train or by bike, exploring Italy inside – savoring its ancient foods, listening to its dialects – could turn out to be a surprising adventure.