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Sustainable tourism should also be inclusive tourism

In this article, I will define the concept of inclusive tourism better. 

First, what is “not inclusive tourism” for me and why? 

The practice of making a hotel or destination too suitable for the group of people who frequent it (or would like to frequent it) does not always fit into my vision of inclusiveness. For example, the U.S. target is accustomed to having two double beds in a double room, even in motels, which are generally simple accommodations. 

We don’t have that feature in Europe, and I don’t see the need to provide it.

I firmly believe that travelling, being a tourist, still means discovering more of a place. Consequently, apart from exceptional cases, the beauty of a trip, whether for business or pleasure, consists precisely in discovering the peculiarities of places. 

There are, however, some situations where small attentions make guests feel more comfortable; these attentions are the ones that can make a destination, a trip, or a hotel more inclusive.   

As I wrote in a previous article, Inclusive Tourism is an approach to any type and product of tourism that considers not only accessibility but also the needs of LGBTQ people, women, and people from ethnic minorities.

The least that can be done in a state with a history and vision of tourism development, such as Italy, is to ensure a normal, safe and peaceful environment where racist, homophobic and ignorant comments or behaviour are not accepted. 

How to achieve this? 

Certainly, managing employees is easier, but the destination can engage and raise awareness among local people by connecting through exhibitions, events, and initiatives residents with LGBTQ people, women travelling alone, and ethnic minority people who can tell and share their experiences. 

Many organisations can partner with the municipality or entity that wants to set this goal. In my experience, the best way to eradicate problems related to accepting the other is to bring the two closer together, putting people on an equal footing (not with tourists). 

Not every resident of a place can travel and independently discover the rest of the world. Bringing the other closer is one of the best ways to achieve good results. 

A very interesting topic for broadening knowledge could be cultural exchange through Italian, Arab, Indian, kosher, African, and Chinese food, among many others.  

This way, one can understand why it is always advisable to have vegetarian, gluten-free, and other options on the menu if the size and type of restaurant allow it.

The goal for all businesses, nonprofits and public agencies should be to celebrate diversity, beauty and love in all its forms.

Sara – tourism sector consultant

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