In December 2014, in his Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Agenda, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, stated:
“Transformation is our watchword.
At this moment in time, we are called to lead and act with courage.
We are called to embrace change.
Change in our societies. Change in the management of our economies.
Change in our relationship with our one and only planet.”
Since 2006, through informal invitation of Professor Andrzej Tomaszewski, the President of the ICOMOS – International Scientific Committee – Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration, we have launched a research project, in order to give our own contribution “beyond tourism”. In fact, well beyond tourism, from which arises Life, Beyond Tourism, simply interpreting a journey towards dialogue, convinced – as claimed by Balducci – to live in “a society conducted by the economy, by competition, and by a dominion over nature.”
In this context, we can only seek answers from within – so as not to lose a dialogue with the world -therefore, answers that still involve economic activities, but with other purposes, other ethics. A new commercial offer – for a market that is hungry for innovation – a new product to exercise dialogue, to promote the growth of the international community in a peaceful coexistence – thanks to heritage – a world of opportunity beyond a tourism of services and consumption. This activates a movement that, from below, consciously participates in the choices and the development of its own territory. A market that is active in not having itself be swayed by market trends.
Therefore, the following arise:
- LearningCommunities (residents, travelers, suppliers of on-site services, cultural institutions, intermediaries, public authorities and administrations, research centers for market trends, educational institutions, developers who respond to market needs – FRDB 2008 Manifesto – paragraph 9)
- Schools for Dialogue
- Developing the territory and the confined environment, in order to favor a dialogue among cultures. World Heritage Sites, for example, are strategic in promoting a dialogue among cultures on this planet and, therefore, also in protecting it. For this reason, the Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco believes it necessary to open schools for dialogue among cultures in World Heritage Sites.
In this manner, a new commercial product for the tour operator market, for the growth of the international community in a peaceful coexistence, and for a conscious respect for the environment of our planet, will be created.
Therefore, traveling simply to acquire the knowledge that it will not be easy to get to know our neighbor enough, which leads to a respect for diversity, as opposed to the current situation where the expression, “I have been there”, is often equated with “I became familiar with, I have understood” – something that is very unlikely, a true presumption, during those touch-and-go trips we are used to today.
In the publication, SITES for DIALOGUE, it is stressed that the UNESCO Convention of 1972, World Heritage, has the ability and strength to support the promotion of – today indispensable – of the UNESCO Conventions of 2003 and 2005 – Intangible Heritage – and of 2005 – diversity in cultural expressions – and how these two, in turn, contribute to increasing awareness regarding the Convention of 1972, therefore, reducing the risk of destroying heritage through conflicts.
With Life Beyond Tourism, World Heritage SITES – due to the vast presence of visitors from various cultures – are required to use this wealth to promote intercultural dialogue, explicitly taking on this responsibility in their “Management Plans”.
Tourists, whose numbers have increased remarkably – more than one billion a year (UNWTO data) – represent one billion opportunities or one billion disasters, using the words of the President of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai – opportunities that should not be missed. A strategy of enormous importance, if conducted on an economic level, as the market today requests, such as a new commercial offer that, through travel, encourages the encounter among cultures, in order to raise awareness regarding the diversity of cultural expressions, with their respect, and on issues relevant to protecting planet Earth, which these billions of individuals – but, above all, a part of these – must learn to respect and, above all, for which they must fear the point of no return.
That commercial product, that new commercial offer that is trendy among more than a billion tourists per year, thanks to heritage, can virally affect the international community, influencing behavior on a global level: with Life Beyond Tourism and its “Heritage for Planet Earth”, from Florence, we can create the Planetary Human and make it rapidly grow.
Paolo Del Bianco
President Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco® – Life Beyond Tourism®