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Responsible tourism in Italy as well

There is a sort of analogy between fair trade and responsible tourism in terms of start and recent evolution. 

Whenever fair trade is mentioned, we start thinking of products coming from the other side of the world, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar and spices. We use these products on daily basis and, by purchasing them at fair-trade shops, we provide the small economies yielding them with a real support, preventing them from being crushed by mass distribution logic. It is simply a matter of justice and dignity.

Responsible tourism was born with the same goals. People willing to make responsible tourism stands up against the exploitation of poor countries, where big tourism multinationals act without keeping local communities into consideration. The consequences of this kind of tourism are even more dangeorus than purchasing unfair products; in fact, mass tourism in fragile territories brings a negative impact on environment (just think of water consumption), economy (money ususally come back to First World tour operators) and culture (loss of identity).

This reasoning can be transposed in the Italian reality. Small communities make the same call for justice and dignity in order to be somehow preserved by the relentless march of uniformity that threatens to wipe out entire cultures and communities bearers of traditional values. In many of these places civil society gave birth to stunning projects willing to disseminate local-product knowledge and with an eye on social issues. This results, for example, in more typical local products on shops’ shelves raised on lands freed from mafia, social cooperatives hiring disabled or detained people to handcraft products, farmers raising crops keeping biodiversity into consideration. 

Tourism reacted to this new drive and changed as well. Wherever it becomes more responsible it wants people to know projects scattered throughout Italy aiming at deeply understanding the place they visit. Making responsible tourism means directly involving local communities, promoting sustainable productions, supporting small economies and let them grow. Responsible tourism allows visitors to understand where they are heading, what is happening around, how territory is changing. Of course, keeping at the same time the lightness of an outdoor weekend, but with a sort of extra flavour.