April 17, 2021

"Slow travel", a European concept in the defense of sustainable tourism

Born in Europe, the philosophy of "slow travel" or "slow travel" has become a fundamental pillar in the defense of sustainable tourism, an argument used by referents in the fight for environmental commitment, such as the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg .

Bearer of the "flying shame" or "shame of flying" movement (also translated as "stay on land"), Thunberg recently announced that it will cross the Atlantic aboard the Malizia II, a ship equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines that does not generate emissions toxic, to participate in New York at the climate summit on September 21.

The young activist was already last January at the World Economic Forum held in Davos (Switzerland), where she arrived after a 30-hour train journey, in line with her refusal to fly by plane so as not to contribute to emissions from carbon dioxide.

At 16, Thunberg has contributed to the resurgence of the concept of "slow tourism", which is consolidating itself as a trend increasingly demanded by those who defend sustainable tourism.


The concept is of European origin, specifically Italian, and was born in the 80s, by the hand of sociologist and gourmet Carlo Petrini and linked to gastronomy: the "Slow Food", as opposed to the culture of "Fast Food ".

Petrini valued food in relation to producers and the quality of their products, as well as biodiversity and the environment. Ten years later, the current transcends the gastronomic, giving rise to complementary movements, such as the "slow city".

Along these lines, the movement has crossed borders and currently has the "Cittaslow" network in countries such as Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Norway or Spain.

"One of the objectives of the network today is precisely the concern for the environment," explains Bubión Mayor María del Carmen Pérez to Efe.

Located in the heart of Alpujarra in Granada, Bubión is one of the ten Spanish municipalities integrated in this international network.

Becoming a municipality or a slow city not only makes tourism grow, but also fosters the bond and respect for the natural environment through activities such as hiking, "one of its strengths," says the mayor.

Nine other municipalities that are part of the network: Balmaseda (Vizcaya), Begas (Barcelona), Begur (Gerona), La Orotava (Tenerife), Lequeitio (Vizcaya), Morella (Castellón), Munguía (Vizcaya), Pals (Gerona) and Rubielos de Mora (Teruel).

However, it is not necessary to become a slow city to enjoy tourism calmly.

In this line, given the rejection of the plane as a means of transport, the train becomes the most viable alternative, such as the Interrail for young people in Europe, which encourages "slow travel" through "fast cities."


With Europe as a cradle, the trend of "slow travel" defends the idea that traveling and knowing a country means calmly reeling its regions, its culture and its language, as well as understanding its traditions, its way of life, its gastronomy and its products.

"For us, 'slow travel' means making friends with the locals, reaching their territory in small quantities, stopping at family businesses and supporting small and medium-sized businesses, local stores, markets and services," explains Carol Haslam, director from Slow Tours Europe, a travel agency whose offer focuses on "slow tourism" in European territory.

"When we started in 2007, there were difficulties in finding other small companies that would tour with a philosophy similar to ours," explains Haslam, who regrets that "at that time there was no one offering a website where people could find a good selection. of these tours. "

However, the "slow" movement is gaining more and more strength, driven by its environmental character, and more and more platforms are organizing such trips, such as Slow Europe, "a travel community where people talk to each other" , in the words of its creator, Pauline Kenny.

Slow Europe is a collaborative space in which "trips are organized by asking questions in the forum itself", in order to set up an itinerary that contains all the elements to become a "slow travel", explains Kenny.

In the "slow travel" several factors converge, among which respect for the environment and growing awareness join the commitment to sustainability.

Maria Moya

. (tagsToTranslate) Slow (t) European concept (t) (t) sustainable defense (t)

Source link