This post is also available in: Italian

How can we develop new tourism businesses? How do we create awareness in a community to make the right moves to attract tourists, to make them have exciting experiences and get them to come back again and again?

After years dedicated to the story telling about small towns, after visiting hundreds of villages and towns in Lazio and the rest of Italy, after meeting thousands of businesses, we realized that there is a real cultural problem – a problem that does not stop at the lack of knowledge of the English language, but is a problem of the lack of knowledge of one’s own town and of how to offer interesting experiences to visitors and tourists.

Therefore, the novel program ‘Tourism among desks’ was designed to make each of these wonderful towns known from a different perspective – known to children, but also through them, to their parents and grandparents. And maybe among the youth we will find future entrepreneurs who want to work in this sector that currently represents more than 12% of national GDP.

It is a one-year program for students of the elementary school classes III, IV and V with the aim of making the pupils discover their town through the lens of a tourist. The pupils are first involved in the creation of content for a tourist guide to their town (web or paper), then they participate in role-playing games to stimulate a different way of presenting their town.

We are in an economy in transition, from industrial to service-based and tourism is a key element, but what do we know about tourism? What do we really know about tourism services?

In order to help and accelerate this transition we have devised some programs and one of them is this activity for schools. Tourism among desks helps you to know your town but also makes you understand:

  • who is the tourist?
  • what is he looking for?
  • what are his needs?
  • what can make his experience in our town unforgettable?

If we knew how to respond to these issues adequately, each of our towns would be full of tourists. In fact, today the experiential tourist is increasingly looking for something new in the smaller towns and villages far from the well known tourist circuits.

How does “TOURISM AMONG DESKS” work?

The project starts by answering the above questions, in a program designed to involve the pupil’s family and in this way to raise awareness on the theme of tourism through three generations: the child, parents and grandparents, as well as the extended family.

The project has several activities such as:

  • the discovery of the village and its valorization as a common good
  • the simulation of being a tourist with a role-playing game
  • a session of creativity to stimulate the active involvement of the child and the family in the design of businesses/associations to service tourists

The project is divided into phases in order to involve the pupils in an increasingly pro-active way according to the famous phrase of J.F. Kennedy: ‘Do not ask what my country can do for me, but what can I do for my country?

Our on-going role is to prepare teachers for the methodology, to provide them with support, to edit and publish the guide book and to organize the presentations with the schools.

We have started with the first schools and in our blog we will document what we are doing and the results obtained.

Stay tuned and get involved with your schools and your children!

Claudia Bettiol

IT Ingegnere, futurista e fondatrice di Discoverplaces. Consulente per lo Sviluppo Turistico dei Territori, specializzato nella sostenibilità e nella promozione culturale dei piccoli territori e delle piccole imprese. Ama i cavalli ENG Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in sustainability and in cultural promotion of small places and small enterprises. She loves horses