I live to travel. It’s my work, my passion , my vocation . Travelling has made me a global citizen and broadened my perspective.
I have travelled a lot and today I have friends all over the globe thanks to my work.
I based all my work on experiential and relational tourism.
A particular tourism where The tourist becomes a researcher of colors, flavors, knowledge and perfumes that are the identity of true Sicily. The tourist who becomes emotionally involved in the places and the community visited. A tourist that turns himself in a “storyteller” of his experience.
The concept of relational tourism is very easy . Today, we no longer travel only to look but to “touch”, “discover”, “meet”. We can call it Relational, Participatory or Experiential tourism. What is important is the basic concept: the enhancement of the territory through interaction and social relationships.
Talking about tourism and especially relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus is really difficult. The general psychosis related to Covid19 has led a large number of tourists to cancel planned vacations in Italy and around the world. Today that Italy became red zone ( and we have to stay at home) relationships are the first things that jump from our “life”.
Coronavirus means : live without touching and with invisible walls around each person. Yet, it is the community that is the weapon we would most need in the moment of pressing difficulties that we are experiencing in these days.
In Italy and especially in Sicily , where people are known for large family gatherings , effusive two-kiss greetings, coffe break without worrying too much about what time it is , many of us are struggling to adapt to new rules of behavior to slow the spread of coronavirus.
There is no denying that, touch helps convey and even shape emotions , build, strengthen and sustain human relationships and , it is essential to living.
Fear, an altered perception of risk and an unclear line to follow, regarding travel, have certainly given the coup de grace to one of the most important activities in our country: Tourism .
I do not want to underestimate the problem, nor deny it.
Today the priority is to listen to what is imposed on us by government and civil protection. But I want to try to be positive and look at the future.
it may seems wrong , try inspiring travel to Italy at a time when entire countries are lock down and thousands of people are infected .
But all of this cannot stop us thinking , talking , dreaming about travel in the near future .
It’s normal for people to be concerned about safe travel, especially when venturing abroad. And when Coronavirus spreading dominate the news, it only increases existing anxiety.
We had thought that, the opponent who would have made us give up our values , way of living , relationships and travel, was Islamic fundamentalism . But today we are in front of the real enemy who is making us raise very high walls. And this enemy is called Covid-19
Even though we like physical contact with others, being more careful and reserved for a few weeks is definitely not going to kill anyone. So , we have to show patience and understanding. We have to follow the rules and use digital devices to stay in touch and work with people.
Even though physical touch is one of the most important senses, it’s only one of five. Maybe we have to take this time to discover new ways of let “living” the beauties of Italy , using the other 4 senses.
l intend to continue to encourage people to consider Italy and Sicily as their next travel , looking in the near future, when the situation will be under control. Because tourism and especially relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus is really difficult. But soon we will start living again .
We all need something to look and dream forward to . Because it’s essential travelling, seeing the world, making new friends and living amazing experiences that give life meaning. Without them, we’re just not living.
We tour operators must be ready with new itineraries and projects for tourists waiting anxiously for the green light to pack their suitcases.
And to all travellers I want to say : yes, at the moment you could cancel your travel plans. But, as soon as the coronavirus will be defeated, start travelling again . The world would get more unsafe if we stopped traveling. Countries’ economies would suffer, disparity would rise, and we’d become less community and more isolated. Because Covid-19 wants to transform us in a selfish society.
I have my personal idea about Covid-19 but I don’t want to talk about it today in this article. I just want to try to convey to my readers that Covid-19 asks us to be more individuals and less communities. It is right that today we respect these rules so as not to be defeated by a virus. Relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus is really difficult. But, I just wish that as soon as this nightmare ends, each of us think back to how Information, education, respect and community are the only weapons capable of fighting psychosis. And they are the only weapons allowing citizens to live a normal life, without deprivation, without particular restrictions and above all without impositions
We treasure today’s dramatic experience. Let’s take advantage of this time to rethink a new way of life.
Let’s think that with the exploitation of the earth we are witnessing a climate change with worrying levels. And today , forced to stop productions ,we are making the planet breathe;
Let’s think that we founded our society on consumerism and on futile things. And today , that we are forced to stop, the unnecessary goods have gone into the background.. So, we can also live without some useless things;
Let’s think that relational tourism in time of Coronavirus is difficult but relationships are imperative for many different reasons. And we have to be back to live and travel as soon as possibile;
Let’s think about the fact that we all run 14 /16 hours a day chasing the possession of material goods. And today, it’s clear that we are losing sight of the value of time, family, love;
Let’s think that in our modern society we have delegated relationships and sociability to a virtual world. And today , that the virus takes away the possibility of true relationships, proximity and sociability, we are missing everything like air.
Let us transform this moment into a test bench to rediscover feelings, true relationships and sense of community. Things that, in the not too distant future, will be indispensable for fighting even more difficult and harsh battles.
We have to avoid the illusion that when the virus will be defeat , we will be the same persons . We will be differents and it would be amazing if all of us were better.
Nothing brings together people like a common problem. Because even though we live in different places, we live under the same sky.
And remember : don’t stop to travel because the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page (Saint Augustine).
Together we will win
We look forward to seeing you soon in Italy and Sicily
NB If you want to know more about relational tourism read this : https://www.sicilyinmypocket.com/language/en/experiential-tourism/