A regenerative tourism approach for the development of marginalised areas. Insights from two best practices in Southern Italy.
Keywords:regenerative tourism, community resilience, community empowerment, local entrepreneurship, marginalised communities
In recent years, travel habits, needs and desires have been gradually changing and influencing both demand and supply in the tourism industry. Macro-phenomena like the pandemic, the climate change with consequent environmental issues, and the digital turn have been introducing new trends and directions. In this view, the need of addressing tourism towards new itineraries is proving crucial for activating processes of regenerative tourism, which acts as a transformational approach and aims to identify the potential of places to create net positive effects. The focus of the paper is on marginalised areas, specifically on areas with low population density, distant from the main hotspots and endowed with significant environmental assets and cultural heritage. The paper chooses to employ the concept of regenerative tourism for investigating the conditions that foster and sustain the development of these communities. To this aim, the analysis of two Italian best practices is meant to provide a new approach to brand-identity, tourism and local industry in marginalised areas. The case of “Museo Diffuso dei 5 Sensi” (“Widespread Museum of the 5 Senses”) identifies new itineraries and builds new economies in a village in Sicily through the reconnection of the local community with its land. The case of “Sea Working Brindisi” reevaluates a marginalised area as a destination for nomad workers and works for the activation of innovative economies in the South of Italy. The analysis conducted will be based on online material (i.e. website, social media, journal articles) and literature review (when available). Based on this material, the paper will analyse the two cases along the value chain ecosystem-intuition-design-action-dissemination. The value chain will help identify the connection of each practice to the territory and to the local community as well as their potential to enhance the tourist attractiveness of the area. The analysis of the two successful cases, explored through the lens of regenerative tourism, has the merit to define the connection between regenerative tourism and the development of marginalised communities, providing directions to realise successful practices in other areas. The acknowledgment of the two cases as contemporary forms of tourism will help foster further practices and outline incentives that enhance tailored projects based on the uniqueness of each place.
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