RELATIONAL TOURISM : CHALLENGES AND CAPABILITIES

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

Abstract

The observed changes in the orientation of tourism demand in the last three decades have brought to the birth of new ways of interpreting the tourism phenomenon. Among these we highlight Relational Tourism, a phenomenon that can be perceived as human-scale tourism, clearly based on territorial, cultural and environmental constraints that include travel formats such as rural tourism, cultural tourism, farm tourism, environmental tourism, outdoor activity tourism and many new ways, which have shown an important quantitative growth of Relational Tourism demand in Europe and internationally in the last decades, offering an alternative and increasingly more appreciated tourism to the traditional depersonalized and mass consumer oriented one.In view of these potentials, the peculiar characteristics which have led to the rise and triumph of the relational forms of tourism, could simultaneously lead to its decline and failure. Being a human-scale tourism, travel services depend heavily on both the benefits offered, usually from small size companies or SMEs, and also on the interaction with the context. Occurring in a particular territorial context and depending on the local culture and customs, Relational Tourism needs also shared infrastructure and equipment (communications, transport, health, safety, energy, water, etc..), land, public services and local suppliers, which imply a high demand for efficiency and quality. In this research, we perform a thematic overview of the previous topics. We begin from the characterization of Relational Tourism and its position within the Theory of Tourism. We then describe the changes and mutations of the orientation of tourist demand and its impact in view of Relational Tourism, later to go into the business and territorial challenges that Relational Tourism faces to reach maturity, taking into account the holistic view of current tourist areas and the difficulty of companies to meet some requirements.The overview concludes with a reflection on the measures and mechanisms to respond to these challenges. In order to address these problems, the possible solution is to emphasize the relational dynamics among regional tourist operators, administrations and public institutions and local people, who play primary roles in Relational Tourism. It must respond to fragmentation with relatedness and cooperation, promoting a dynamic clustering of cooperation among the tourist SPWP, following the logic of shared destiny.Nonetheless, it is essential that Public Authorities promote regional frameworks of cooperation between public and private land agents and are heavily involved in the improvement and efficiency of regional infrastructure and equipment.At present, we can observe a certain euphoria about tourism in international media, many areas and territories in developing countries and their surrounding neighbors turn their attention to tourist phenomena, looking at the apparent ease of Relational Tourism response to growing socioeconomic demands. But Tourism now more than ever appears to be a complex phenomenon (and Relational Tourism is no exception) that seems to require a holistic view and complex mechanisms to be understood. Hence the need to focus on a topic of obvious actuality starting from a clear statement: Tourism should be a solution and not an added problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages39-40
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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