Relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus or Covid-19

Relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus. Italy and China

Tourism in the time of Coronavirus –  Together we will win.
Come as guests leave as friends

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.

A dinner with guests .. They arrive as clients and leave as friends

The fastest way to make a friend for life is to travel with a stranger ( Christina Pfeiffer)

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.

Experiential tourism with a cooking class in Palermo

Relational tourism : One destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things

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.

An aperitif in front of the salt pans of Marsala. Relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus

It is scientifically proven that an aperitif and chips will not save the world, but the day certainly will.

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 .

 The "Scala dei Turchi" is a splendid, blinding, white jewel that frames the clear blue sea.

Don’t stop dreaming to travel and live experiences .
Because a dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality (J. Lennon)

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.

Cefalù is an amazing town on the water

let’s spreading beautiful pictures , not fear, in the fight against Coronavirus

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.

A dinner with collegues in Sicily talking about tourism. Relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus

The most beautiful things in life are not things. They’re people and places, memories, and pictures. They’re feelings and moments, and smiles and laughter.

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.

Sunset in marsala . I love this place . Relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus

In every community there is work to be done . In every heart there is the power to do it

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.

touching a tree can heal you. let's preserve the planet. Relational tourism - Covid-19

Let’s think back to a new way of life. More sustainable and that preserves the planet -. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin

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).

Giant Hands in venice by Lorenzo Quinn. Relational tourism in the time of Coronavirus

Holding hands is a promise to one other that, we don’t have to face the world alone

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 :



About the Author:

I’m Angela and I was born and bred some years in Novara ( Piemonte). Then my parents decided to get back to Sicily and I grew up on a small mountain village in the Madonie park : Polizzi Generosa . Nothing incredibly exciting happened there and for this reason I decided to move in an other city where I live happily: Cefalù . A beautiful medieval town, included in the World Heritage List in 2015 I was a smart girl in school and I loved to learn . I like music and books , animals , dance and most of all to know people and get in touch with the real soul of a place. I also love photography , gelato and writing . And naturally I like to travel and everything it’s in between.


  1. Lashandra Gularte 15 March 2020 at 10:06 - Reply

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  2. Wendi Davenport Montoya 18 March 2020 at 16:52 - Reply

    Great Article! Thanks for sharing. Can not wait until this is over and we are back to normal. We will survive!

  3. Jo Daye 19 March 2020 at 21:21 - Reply

    The impact of Covid-19 to the travel and tourism industry is considerable. This is global and we are all in this together. Every country right now is managing the containment of the virus. The escalating number of cases and fatalities is frightening. To see photos of army trucks full of coffins in Italy is traumatic. It is difficult to know now what the mood will be towards travelling throughout the globe not just to Sicily. It will not be something that is solved all of a sudden. One day a pandemic the next day business as usual, how long will it take for borders to open and flight schedules to resume and when will each country begin to welcome travellers again?. What will be the new normal for travel? It breaks my heart to think for each trip there will be a new set of considerations. Will checks be incorporated as part of the travel experience. To be in isolation for a very tactile, vibrant culture goes against everything we love about Italy/Sicily. It has been uplifting to see the creative ways that communities are remaining connected, but how long will this mood remain. As I organise weddings in Italy I am encouraging support of travel and tourism.. To write with passion about where you live and all those things you love to remind us that those things will still be there and we can experience them again not as a onlooker but as someone who wishes to be a part of the the land we visit and the people we meet. Keep writing Angela and lets find new ways to ensure the mentality of isolation does not remain after the virus infection has been controlled. People travel for education, experiences, memories, legacies, aspirations and inspiration. Relational tourism remains strong,

  4. Jeff Foster 28 March 2020 at 10:13 - Reply

    Hope is infectious Angela, we must all never give up hope. It will help us all get through these difficult times. Your article was very well written and thoughtful. My thoughts are with all of my friends in Italy I hope you and Giacomo are well and safe. This COVID-19 disease has only just started to wreck havoc in North America in the last 3 weeks or so. It will ravage and destroy many industries and people, however hopefully it will also teach us several important lessons as humans. Many of these you touch on in article. In North America particularly we have become so driven by “things” money greed rather than “experiences” and friends, family. These are what is important in life. Some people that have dealt with loss, turmoil, and upheaval in their lives prior to COVID-19 maybe understand this, many however do not. Anyways my thoughts and prayers are with all of you guys. I never will give up hope. I saw a photo book my Dad made of our trip to Italy a few weeks ago when I could still go out to see him. Those memories we will have forever. The travel industry will come back in due time I honestly believe but whatever the normal will be following this it will be a new normal. Take Care.

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