The ninth edition of the It.A.CA Festival of Responsible Tourism takes place from May in ten cities across northern Italy, starting in Bologna in May and ending in Monferrato in October. This year’s edition sees a new and varied programme under the theme “Travelers and migrants.”
One of the main events will happen in Rimini in September, where four days of activities will bring together the University of Bologna’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Tourism (CAST), the Italian Association of Responsible Tourism (AITR) and Green Destinations from the Netherlands. “With the ongoing situation in Europe,” says Annalisa Spalazzi coordinator of the festival in Rimini, “we want the theme ‘Travelers and migrants’ to remind people that travelling is not done only for pleasure and to relax, but that there are a lot of people who are forced to travel and move. We take into consideration both situations and point out that it is not possible to look on travelling only from one standpoint.”
In previous years participants and partners were mostly from Italy, but 2017 will see the most international festival so far with various subjects from other European countries participating in the event in Rimini. “2017 will be more international than previous years,” she adds. “Not only here in Rimini but in Bologna as well, where the festival actually starts. With this we want to bring the Festival in a much broader international context and make it known and more available in other parts of Europe. This is the first festival of responsible tourism in Italy and one of the first in Europe but our aim is to increase its visibility worldwide and to provide some sort of place for networking on responsible and sustainable tourism subjects.”
“That being said, one of the most important pieces of news is that we will host in Rimini International Green Destinations Day. Their conference will be held here and we are still defining with them the activities which will be organized as part of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism. Besides them, we will cooperate with Minube School from Spain. The idea is to connect University of Bologna and these institutions as Rimini is home of different bachelor and master degree courses dedicated to sustainable development and tourism so we want to create cooperation and include them as well in these actions. These events are organized thanks to Maria Laura Gasparini, intern at CAST who will do a research internship at Green Destinations from June. “
The Italian side of the program will present some of the most important subjects in the country. With support from AITR different laboratories and workshops on sustainable development will be organized where local players and subjects will be involved. The purpose is to work together with them on the application of these principles in production and delivery of the services. The support comes from more than 25 local associations, NGOs and public bodies. Furthermore, Maurizio Davolio, founder of AITR and one of the most important figures in this field in Italy will be involved. Finally, Fondazione UniVerde (Green Foundation), an institution dedicated to sustainable tourism on the national level, will also take part.
Many people might think it uncommon to see these topics as the theme of a festival rather than as conferences, meetings or laboratories. However, Annalisa explains us the motivation behind this decision: “We like the idea of the festival because this format allows communication between all participants and everyone can get in touch with anyone else. We want to inform people about the things which normally they cannot find easily, so this can be seen as a sort of social innovation in these fields. Moreover, our aim is to show people that tourism does not exist only in standard forms which are present everywhere but that there are alternatives which as well provide great experience.”
IT.A.CA starts in Bologna in May and between then and the event in Rimini in September, will also be events in Ferrara, Ravenna and Padova. In October there will be events in Trentino, Reggio Emilia, Parma and Rovigo before finishing in Monferrato on 22nd of October.