The International Social Tourism Organisation welcomed TourCert Managing Partner Marco Giraldo at its ISTO World Congress from 16 to 19 October 2018. An opportunity for TourCert to get even more sustainably committed.
After the Zagreb Congress in 2016, the ISTO World Congress 2018 was held in Lyon in cooperation with the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance and Auvergne Rhone-Alpes Tourisme. As motto, the Congress focussed on “Tourism in Action: Innovate, Develop and Share” and highlighted a network of experts in social tourism, but also in fair and responsible tourism around the world. Indeed, the intervention of some sixty members and partners made it possible to diversify the themes discussed during these three days. Among the key themes, the 280 participants discussed in workshops about Innovation and Creativity, Youth Tourism, but also on balanced development of territories.
ISTO-OITS – from social to fair and responsible tourism
ISTO-OITS is first and foremost a social tourism network and contributes to providing access to leisure, holidays and tourism for all. Raising awareness of social policies and practices in the tourism sector and becoming a platform for exchanges of knowledge and projects were the main objectives of the organization. However, the recent merge with EARTH (European Alliance for Responsible Tourism and Hospitality) has resulted in a new vision for the construction of tourism for people and communities, which takes into account development and sustainability issues. Since then, their action at the global level has enabled them to expand their membership to more than 160 members in 35 countries in Europe, America and Africa, a dozen States and more than 30 local and regional authorities.
The ISTO World Congress 2018 aimed to promote a new vision of “a fair and sustainable tourism for all” by creating a synergy between stakeholders of social tourism and those oriented in responsible and fair tourism. In order to enable this cooperation, ISTO organised for the first time during the congress an innovation forum where participants were able to discuss and promote innovations, projects and products that can be used in social, sustainable and responsible tourism.
Balanced development of territories
Among the sixty speakers from different countries and different tourism sectors, TourCert Managing Partner Marco Giraldo contributed to the workshop “In what way do “tourism for all”, responsible and fair tourism operators specifically contribute to the balanced development of territories?”. What are the solutions in terms of seasonality, awareness of responsible and equitable tourism to counter the growing phenomenon of “overtourism”? An opportunity for every participant to discuss means and solutions against populations oppressed by tourism.
The theme of synergy between population and tourism in development of territories has clearly illustrated TourCert’s work, as we are actively carrying out projects in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania), Latin America (Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica) but also in Africa and Asia.
TourCert on board
The ISTO Congress was also an opportunity to promote the integration of sustainability into an organization with an initial social vocation. This change also resulted in a new Board of Directors, with a new President at its head: Inés Ayala Sender, Spanish politician and member of the European Parliament.
With this transformation, ISTO has presented a new “Fair and Responsible Tourism” commission composed of specialized networks, experts and operators dealing with all topics related to fair and responsible tourism, including our Managing Partner, Marco Giraldo.
This last action further strengthens the close cooperation between ISTO and TourCert and means for us to promote and innovate together in the field of social, fair and responsible tourism with an ever wider network of tourism stakeholders and to have an impact on more and more people. That’s all it is: As the last ISTO President, Jean-Marc Mignon, said: “let’s keep working together to serve the good cause that brings us all together: tourism without barriers”. A tourism model that benefits all.