October 5, 2009

Sustainable Tourism with Context Travel

Hi bloggers!

with you, Life Beyond Tourism will  collect  international initiatives addressed to sustainable, and cultural toursim! Here is a first one …

… we have recently discovered a great initiative whose principles are very tight to the Life Beyond Tourism’s Manifesto!

It is Context Travel, an organization that  promotes sustainable tourism by organizing thematic tours  where tours guides are academic experts on the related tour’s theme:

” In this age of Disneyland and Club Med, Context Travel is dedicated to the experience of real places. We are committed to the character of these places: their built environment, cultural heritage, and living fabric. Through didactic walking seminars, we aim to bring together the traveler and these cities in a manner beneficial to both.

One of the dilemmas of traveling is the overwhelming amount of information, data, and experiences that we encounter during a short visit. Our walking seminars, which are limited to six participants, provide an intimate alternative to traditional tours. We emphasize in-depth conversation, much like a seminar class in a small, liberal arts college. “

You can find Context Travel in several cities such as Paris, Istanbul, New York, Florence, …

” … for example, in Florence, clients have the opportunity to visit a private artist’s studio where they will both learn about the history and technique of fresco painting […]”

All of the visited experiences form the context of the journey. Contextuality, is a mission:

“Our mission becomes especially important in Florence, where mass tourism has a corrosive effect on monuments, museums, and the city landscape. A portion of our profits, coupled with donations from our clients, is directed toward cultural preservation initiatives in each of the cities where we operate, which safegaurds specific aspects of local culture. In Florence, we have created an opportunity for a local student to spend time as an apprentice in one of the historic workshops of the Oltrarno. This scholarship allows the student to gain the technical knowledge necessary for continuing the traditions of craftsmanship within the Oltrarno community.”

For more information about Context Florence, please visit the website, and check out the Context blog.

Then, don’t forget to share your personal cultural-tourism experience!!

November 20, 2008

“Degree and Profession” and The Tourist City


From the 14th to the 19th of March took place  the first “International Regional Festival – Degree & Profession” in Baku, Azerbaijan, on the subject of  Traditional Islamic Architecture.
Participants from 6 countries came together for four days to listen to conferences and discuss regarding the Architecture and the Conservation of Heritage.
The energy of more then 100 participants, students, graduates, professionals and professors created an event that will be a milestone for the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation, and its mission “For Intercultural Dialogue – Life Beyond Tourism”, showing how coming together under a common goal can break down the barriers.

More than 25 degree project were presented (Degree, Master, and PhD), and winners were selected to come to Florence for a stage-period: Timur Kiryashov, Nurlan Koishanbaev, Leyla Shiraliyeva and Cavid Mammadov.

Baku is the 2009 Capital of  Islamic Culture!!


Florence, Italy

Dear Blog Friends,

Last week in Florence the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation promoted an International Festival called Degree & Profession, an important meeting for students, graduates, companies, professors, universities and professionals having the chance to share their own knowledge and experiences.

This Festival was rich of conferences, workshops, and other interesting events related to the worlds of school, workculture, architecture, and, of course, TOURISM.
In particular, there was a very interesting workshop about tourism which was intitled The Tourist City, conducted by the Professor Ray Hutchinson from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, U.S.A.


Tbilisi, Georgia

The participants to this workshop were people from all over the world, coming from Georgia, America, Italia, Iran, Estonia, Serbia, Russia, etc., and they were all experts in the field of tourism. Their works were all about the relation between their cities of origin and tourism, in the sense that tourism is a very important aspect for the growth of their economy and for a social and cultural growth too.


New York, U.S.A

It was very interesting to notice how different was the approach of each participant to this argument, and how different was their concept of tourism applied to each one of their cities.
In fact, we can’t talk about New York as a tourist city in the same way as we talk about Tbilisi (the capital of Georgia) as a tourist city, because each place has its own features and characteristics, its history, culture and economy. Therefore, every place has got its own tourism, in the sense that tourism depends on the resources that a particular place can offer to tourists.

For example, New York is a great business city and is so organized and structured that tourists often visit it simply to say “I have been to New York!”. In this case we don’t need to do more to improve tourism in this city or to promote its features because it already does it by itself.
Instead, there are places like Estonia or Iran which are not so well known, which need to be promoted by a different kind of tourism that focuses on their historical, cultural or landascape characteristics.


Belgrado, Serbia

Another interesting point was the intercultural dialogue established by the participants to this workshop. Everyone talked about his country and at the same time interacted and shared his knowledge with the others and learnt about different cultures, cities and realities. They shared their point of view and discussed about different ways of “making tourism” and different experiences and stories.
Again, New York has got a very different culture and history compared to Florence which has got its very personal history too.


Yazd, Iran

In conclusion, every place in the world is worth to be visited and known because of its own features, culture and history. If we want to avoid mass tourism we should visit both the most famous places and the less famous ones because we could happen to be amazed by the beauty of some of these places!

What do you think about it?


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