GSTC Italy Working Group Holds Inaugural Online Meeting, Sets Goals and Priorities
On May 14, 2023, the first official meeting of the GSTC Italy Working Group took place online. Comprising 13 members from Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), Consultancy and Travel Agencies, the group convened to establish its goals, priorities, and action plan for the year.
Several key objectives emerged as top priorities during the discussions. These included promoting GSTC Certifications in Italy, encouraging the adoption of GSTC Criteria within the national tourism policy, and creating a network of good practices among operators and certified destinations through the Italy Working Group’s annual events.
Leadership positions were assigned, with Stefano Ravelli Director of the Valsugana Tourism Board, appointed as Chair and Federica Bosco Sustainable Tourism Specialist at Etifor, taking on the role of Vice-Chair.
« The Valsugana Tourism Board since 2019 has been on a path of continuous improvement in the sustainability of its tourism services. We are happy to see that in just a few years the number of destinations and operators that believe in the international principles of sustainable tourism identified by the GSTC has multiplied. This has happened in Italy, a small country if we consider its extension, but where tourism has a great impact on the citizens’ life. We felt that in this context it was essential to create moments of exchange of good practices with other destinations that share the same values with us: IDM, the Tarvisio area, Dolomites S. Vigilio and S. Martin, and Alta Badia. We believe that the Italy Working Group can lay the foundations for the establishment of a wider network at the national level, with the aim of involving as many operators as possible in this path of responsibility and bringing the Italian experience at the service of the international community » Stefano Ravelli, Director of the Valsugana Tourism Board.
« We are facing a social, economic and environmental challenge to which we are called to respond with a global commitment. GSTC provides us with guidelines to set the right direction for this path of sustainability, however the application of its principles must be confronted with the peculiarities of the local context. In Italy, the richness of cultural sites and biodiversity, the tradition of family-run accommodations, and a fragmented tourism policy across regions call for an internal comparison among adherents to the GSTC principles. We thank the various experts and operators who have decided to put their knowledge at the disposal of the Italy Working Group and hope that the example of these early adherents may also inspire other excellences in the national context. » Federica Bosco, Sustainable Tourism Specialist at Etifor.
The Working Group’s origin traces back to a working lunch during the GSTC2022 event in Seville. It was there that GSTC Members who later became part of the Working Group first discussed the idea.
To continue the discussions and solidify the group’s plans, an in-person event is scheduled to take place in Italy during the autumn (exact date to be determined). This gathering will provide an opportunity for the GSTC Italy Working Group to further refine its objectives and collaborate on implementing sustainable tourism practices in Italy.