Tourism has grown at an accelerated pace over the last few decades, with more than a billion tourists now travelling to an international destination each year. One of the main motivations of tourism is mankind’s inherent curiosity and desire to explore cultural identities across the world. Natural and cultural heritage sites, including scenic landscapes and revitalized historic towns, are prized tourism assets that distinguish one destination from another.
The inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list has proved to be a powerful factor of tourist attraction, and tourism also plays a key role in the protection and enhancement of the sites.
In order to safeguard heritage and achieve sustainable economic development, the Unesco Heritage Convention has created the “UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme”.
These ‘How To’ guides for World Heritage Site managers and other key stakeholders will enable a growing number of World Heritage Site communities to make positive changes to the way they pro-actively manage tourism.
And we – travel operators and professionals– are called to be part of this challenge. To Promote quality tourism products and services that encourage responsible behaviour represents the future of our job, but also a moral duty for people who really care about traveling and what it represents.
Some good points and suggestions can be found in the “Sustainable Tourism Tool kit”
“It is an inevitable destiny: the very reasons why a property is chosen for inscription on the World Heritage List are also the reasons why millions of tourists flock to those sites year after year. In fact, the belief that World Heritage sites belong to everyone and should be preserved for future generations is the very principle on which the World Heritage Convention is based. So how do we merge our convictions with our concerns over the impact of tourism on World Heritage sites? The answer is through sustainable tourism. Directing governments, site managers and visitors towards sustainable tourism practices is the only way to ensure the safekeeping of our world’s natural and cultural heritage.”
And again : “By learning to “tread lightly” on the earth, not only are we ensuring the future of World Heritage sites but also the future of tourism. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved: the site is better protected and maintained, the tourist experiences a more pleasant visit, and the local economy is boosted as a result. Tourism is an important management issue at both natural and cultural World Heritage sites. It is an industry with well-known costs but also with the potential for aiding protection efforts. We recognize this potential and are convinced that by engaging, and by taking appropriate actions at the different levels of the sustainable tourism process, tourism can be managed to generate net site benefits.”
For incoming operators – like FindYourItaly – the sustainable practices are the key of the future of tourism.
During our last meetings with professional operators we could notice a real interest shown to foster the creation of a circuit of inviting, competitive, easy-to-use routes respecting the criteria of sustainable tourism.
The offer of environmentally and nature friendly itineraries, in full respect of the local economies, has always been our main focus since the creation of our company.
And now, more than ever, we accepted the challenge of developing itineraries that promote the slow, emotional and conscious journey, aimed at enhancing the cultural tourism excellence of UNESCO sites.
Italy has recently strengthened its world premiership for Unesco World Heritage List – reaching the incredible number of 53 sites within its borders.
It’s quite obvious that this unique variety and diversity – mountains, lakes, sparkling coastlines, countryside, art cities all packed in one small country- represents a big chance for tour operator to offer products that can suite all tastes and all types of customers.
FindYourItaly has therefore developed new itineraries and trips for Individual Travelers and Groups to mix different sites together all in one tour. And there’s a lot to choose from monuments, historical centres, natural parks, archeological sites and prehistoric cave paintings, wine and food areas, major and minor Art Cities for a total of 48 cultural sites and 5 Naturals.
Every month we will dedicate a special focus on our new Unesco World Heritage Tours to give you always more and more tools to sell journeys to our beautiful country!