Environmental crisis and pandemic are changing the demand of all tourists, not just sophisticated travellers. A great opportunity to change the status quo, as long as innovative initiatives do not remain the prerogative of the wealthy few

There are eco-hotels, hotels built according to new architectural principles, with ecological materials and low-emission systems and which offer organic and 0 km products on the menu. There is the formula of an insured holiday, that is covered by a policy that guarantees compensation in case of Covid-19 illness and allows you to convert the expense into a voucher to reschedule your stay as soon as possible or even up to a year later.

There are accommodation facilities, large and small, which have invested to equip themselves with health protocols consistent with WHO guidelines. And, again, Ecobnb, born in unsuspecting times, in 2012, from the desire to promote a different way of traveling (on foot or by bicycle, by canoe or on horseback): with little impact on the environment and without harmful consequences for the inhabitants. local. An initiative awarded four years ago by the World Tourism Organization and which today has become a community with two million travelers and over three thousand eco-sustainable accommodations in more than fifty-five countries.

Furthermore, there are real trends in the process of consolidation such as Holiday Working, or the option of those who rent houses in seaside or mountain resorts or in historic villages for long periods and use them a little to work and a little for relaxation, making sure that they are equipped with wi-fi and barbecue and we are close to swimming pools or recreation centers for children. Not to mention  entering the world of transport and technology – the launch of the first hybrid ferries or the Coradia iLint, the first passenger train in the world powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which produces electricity for traction: Alstom will supply it. six units, with an option for a further eight, to FerrovieNord, the main transport and mobility group in Lombardy.

Even the seemingly immutable Golem of tourism is therefore changing its skin. And it does so above all in its most problematic declination, that of mass tourism, which is already full of probabilities and unexpected events like in a Monopoly.

A slow, inexorable revolution, triggered for some time by an avant-garde of virtuous realities and conscious behaviors and fueled by the change of direction imposed above all by the pandemic and by a new ecological sensitivity.

The snapshot comes from the Turismo & Salubrità report by Giaccardi & Associati, the specialized data analysis and consultancy firm that in the months of the pandemic emergency investigated trends and methods of flows, focusing a light on critical issues and best practices at national level and international. If we look at Italy, the report launches a precise warning: “The driver of beauty, which has characterized the holiday offer in our country, is no longer enough. Travelers want to feel safe before arriving at their destination, they are attentive to both environmental and social sustainability with respect to the communities that welcome them, they dream of a holiday as happiness and regeneration. This is why it is essential to rethink the offer paradigm” explains the CEO of the studio, Beppe Giaccardi.

From this new or renewed ecological sensitivity, and from pandemic anxieties, the roundup of eco proposals or in terms of health safety that enrich the tourist offer is born. Making it on the one hand even more frayed, and on the other, innervated by an innovative, often cutting edge, thread.

Giaccardi continues: “The Book Different platform allows you to choose from over a million hotels and residences certified by third-party organizations as sustainable on the basis of four criteria: management, treatment of employees, promotion of culture and the local community and environmental initiatives. In mid-April, Preferred Resorts, the largest independent hotel group in the world (representing over 750 hotels in 85 countries), launched the Beyond Green brand which offers a portfolio of 27 hospitality businesses around the world, including in Italy Borgo Pignano, which embody the concept of sustainability and propose initiatives and activities aimed at telling it and sharing it with their guests”.

Now the challenge is to ensure that avant-garde and innovation do not become synonymous with elite tourism and the prerogative of the rich. The key word for this not to happen is one: project. “The tourism economy is horizontal” explains Giaccardi, “we need architectures of thought that work, as happens in design approaches, enhancing people, hybridizing models and objectives and lowering the resistances that often oppose. Formats already exist to make it happen, from living labs to cooperation rooms that bring together public and private, the list is endless, but in Italy still only a few destinations have understood its value. Leverage is hybridization, but the bet can and must be won”.

Digital, big and open data to understand and guide flows, new training and a policy of incentives rather than subsidies are some of the possible tools. The road is marked, it must be followed.

Top and above, Big Sky Resort in Montana, United States. The resort and Conrad Anker, a world-renowned climber and mountaineer, have teamed up with Airbnb to offer two travelers the chance to experience nature as the only inhabitants of the majestic Andesite Mountain in Big Sky next fall. While Anker is on an expedition to Mount Everest, guests can explore the more than 2,300 hectares of pristine terrain by engaging in several nature activities.