‘Scenic Roads and Trails’ were the theme of the three-day series of events and presentations on the Adventure stage at ITB Berlin 2019. It is a subject close to my heart as co-creating the Transcaucasian Trail, a new long-distance hiking path, has brought me into sustainable tourism. At ITB, together with the Via Dinarica trail experts from the Western Balkans we discussed the value of long-distance trails and cultural routes for the development of sustainable tourism, and their positive social impacts on tourists and local communities.
Long-distance trails and cultural routes provide excellent opportunities to experience nature, history and culture. They help preserve the local heritage and give coherence to cultural themes. The UNWTO Global Report on Cultural Routes and Itineraries (2015) stated that they ‘stimulate cultural exchanges that instill local pride, enrich the cultural identity and heritage of destinations and foster closer ties between visitors and host communities’. During the panel I was asked why creating local pride through trail development is important, and does that help to bring the locals on board and bring authenticity to the route?
You can read more about the trails and the local pride, authenticity and other social benefits here.