As always, at the end of a conference, you start packing your suitcase. What was it all about? What can I take away from the event? It seems even more obvious that we need to pack a ‘suitcase of knowledge’ after a conference on tourism.
Among several topics explored, we analysed the evolution of the ‘tourist’ throughout history.
As someone who grew up in a tourist area, I remember that when I was young we used to call tourists die Fremden, the foreigners. Then later they became die Gäste, the guests. Only recently have we started to call them tourists. In marketing (just a little ahead of the times), in a sort of ideal evolution, they aim to call them travellers – a name with which we can more readily identify ourselves when we travel to discover new corners of the world.
The conscious traveller does not look for a condition that is custom-made only for her-or himself.
We need a new covenant between travellers and inhabitants, a new understanding that would make us all keepers and explorers, respecting natural beauty and traditions.
This attitude sums up best perhaps what we mean by ‘sustainable tourism’. This can be an oxymoron if we consider the impact any type of tourism has on the world, but it can also be a key to saving the world itself.
And if we believe that tourism blindly oriented towards continuous growth and endless exploitation will ultimately destroy what travellers are looking for while pursuing their dreams of beauty, then only the type of tourism we envision will be able to save itself.
Perhaps, within this perspective, we can also bring closer to us those who are not (yet) Greens. This would be a great step forward – the beginning of a new, interesting and succesful journey.
Edited by Brigitte Foppa, Co-chair Verdi Grüne Vërc
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