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The decalogue of sustainable tourism

In Abruzzo has been signed the “Carta di Ocre”, the response of the Italian Regions to the Millennium Goals of UNWTO

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Now it’s clear to everyone (or almost to everyone). The concept of sustainability applied to tourist activities is clearly no longer a trend, but it isn’t only a moral response to the damages inflected in the last decades to the planet, particularly from our industry. Sustainable tourism must not be made for an individual virtuous initiative. Conversely, this direction should be taken because it’s the only possible way in ethical, environmental and economic terms to guarantee competitiveness to the tourism industry. Moreover, this should be done with a system project, a development model and a centered and shared strategy. This urgency and perspective were discussed, on the last 18th of September in Abruzzo, in Ocre, at the “Monastero di Santo Spirito”. Here, the “Seminar on Sustainable Tourism” took place, it was organised by the Abruzzo Region in cooperation with the Conference of Regions and independent Provinces and with Legambiente, with the presence of operators and experts from the industry. Experiences and theoretical classifications have provided tangible, clear and effective lines of action, which may lead public institutions and private subjects to a change in current practices of tourist consumption in a sustainable and ethical way. The result was the “Carta di Ocre” that provides a decalogue to steer the future of tourism in Italy to that Millennium Goals which the UNWTO has defined with the programme “One Planet, Travel with care”.

A quick and deep change of tourism demand

The ten points of this decalogue look in the direction of coordinated construction of a future based on sustainability for tourist destination. This is an indispensable objective because, by its nature, destination is strongly influenced by its natural and cultural environment and its integration with local community. It is no longer a farsighted perspective for insiders: even before this, today weare witnessing to a quick and deep change of tourism demand and of travellers’ consume behaviours, who are increasingly choosing sustainability, intended as quality of life, moving away from mass and standardised tourism. The “Carta di Ocre” underlines that the answer to this transformation process, which need to be encouraged and accompanied, should be able to find a point of reference in the regional institutions for putting together operators, products and tools with the aim of creating team and system. All this – once again, but certainly not in a superfluous way – starting from fundamental definitions of parts that attend in sustainability constitution: the ones of responsible tourism – implemented according to the principles of social and economic justice, in full compliance with environment and cultures. It recognises the centrality of local hosting community and its right to be the star in the tourist development of its own territory, promoting positive interaction with travellers. Part of the environmental tourism – which includes those forms of tourism whose main motive is nature and its observation and immersion in uncontaminated environments. The tourism generally intended as sustainable – which expects a development that satisfies the needs of tourists and hosting regions and that, at the same time, safeguards and improves opportunities for the future. Lastly, the ecotourism – which takes place in natural areas contributing to nature protection and local population wellbeing.

The Decalogue of Carta di Ocre

1) Management of resources - Technological Innovation

Audit, Green Technologies, environmental management schemes, certifications (ISO 14001, EMAS) and ecolabels.

2) Policy/ Planning (Zoning, Regulation, Economic Mechanism)

Promoting the responsible fruition of scattered landscape backgrounds (natural and marine parks, mountain and rural areas) for which sustainable tourism enhancement allows the conservation and valorisation of material and immaterial elements of attraction (biodiversity such as the main engine to achievement of social wellbeing and development in green economy and social private sectors).

3) Marketing (Load capacity control/Responsible communication)

Promotional and marketing activities should allow visitors to understand the real value of the visited area, its fragile nature and in providing advices for future visitors on fruition and safeguard of cultural and environmental heritage. An Example: Tour Operators Initiative for sustainable tourism.

4) Education of tourists (Codes of conduct, interpretation, education)

Environmental education and heritage interpretation must be a priority in tourism policy. The aim is to stimulate awareness on choices regarding travels and vehicles, responsible management of resources also on the road (conditioners, light, water, waste sorting), going to the discovery and the valorisation of gastronomy and local products, choosing destinations with a low environmental impact.

5) Training of operators

Training is an essential tool to put operators commitment in pursuing sustainability. Everyone should know the concept of sustainable development. This will integrate their skills on natural and cultural heritage of the place and will contribute to increase information and level of tourists satisfaction.

6) Development/Building of eco-compatible facilities

Prioritizing the rehabilitation of existing buildings rather than construction of new ones. Developing guidelines aimed at ensuring the proper planning and management of tourist infrastructures. Promoting the use of local materials and the respect for architectural traditions. This is also made with a way to promote the purchase of local products by visitors and local tourism enterprises, in addition to encourage the employment of local inhabitants in tourism, to promote new forms of employment in tourism industry.

7) Monitoring (Load capacity and indicators)

Providing a system of structural and management indicators referred both to general performance of variables linked to tourism and markets, and to effects produced by execution of tourism policies, also in relation to topics relating sustainability (European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas).

8) Private enterprises – Corporate Social Responsibility

Accession by enterprises to the principles regarding CSR of “Global Compact” of Nations. Giving a public recognition to what enterprises do in the field of CSR, can help to disseminate good practices and to encourage more enterprises to develop their own strategic approach to corporate responsibility.

9) Overtourism

The monitoring of the visitors’ flows will enable updated informations on itineraries, times and duration of visits. Informations will be useful for channeling the visitors’ flows and will also encourage the discovery of cultural and environmental heritage in periods of less bookings. In order to avoid the risks of over tourism we should: make and encourage different market niches; promote attractiveness of the areas next to great attractions (discounts, facilitations in transports, marketing); involve guides and tour operators in the promotion of alternative itineraries; implement different price trends; improve infrastructures and services.

10) Infrastructures and links

Development must be oriented to strengthen the sustainable fruition of the territory, with particular attention to the forms of the so called “slow” tourism and “soft mobility” (paths, cycle paths and horse trails) which represent an opportunity of slow fruition of historic, artistic and landscape heritage of our Country.


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