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International Forum for Responsible Tourism, 2nd edition – Conclusion

The problems – synthetis

The event has managed over the course of several days to create the appropriate framework for communication, debate and mediation between the main actors in not only the touristic field, but also in the public and private area. The aims were to highlight the opportunity of responsible tourism in Romania, and to draw the main developing strategies for responsible tourism in Romania.

In this regard, the discussions have started from theoretical presentations, meant to explain the concept of responsible tourism. Harold Goodwin – the president of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – was the first one to intervene in this respect. He began by talking about people and places, but also about the necessity of taking responsibility for the environment. He then continued with explaining the difference between responsible tourism and sustainable tourism.

Through the two presentations, the difference between the two forms of tourism was argued, responsible tourism representing rather taking responsibility in order to obtain sustainable development through tourism.

After highlighting the conceptual delimitation of responsible tourism, the debates continued with examples of good practice in Romania.

Professor dr. Maria Stoian – ANTREC Founder – brought in discussion authentic Romanian products and destinations, and named local entrepreneurs and guest houses who were invited to cooperate in order to have a uniform image nationally and internationally, as a basic condition for providing a high quality tourism.

Caroline Fernolend – Mihai Eminescu Trust – has offered a rural development model through cultural heritage conservation in Transylvania. The model was based on a series of activities implemented in Transylvanian villages, with the aim of preparing locals through developing their professional skills and the local entrepreneurship, and, last but not least, with the aim of contributing to the development of responsible tourism.

Iuliam Cozma has highlighted the benefits of practicing mountain tourism for bothe the community and the environment. He also highlighted the major role that local community involvement plays in the development of each region.

Iuliana Mariana Grumazescu, representing the Association of the Open-Air Museums in Romania, argued for the need of promoting on all levels professional dialogue, and scientific and methodological experience exchange. It should be done both nationally and internationally, supporting a responsible tourism, with a meaning agreed upon by all of us.

Ivan Patzaichin and Doru Frolu – on behalf of Ivan Patzaichin – Mile 23 Foundation – have talked about water sports which ensure strong connections between the environment, be it natural or anthropic, and local communities and traditions. Water sports also have a powerful impact on how tourism is practiced. In this regard, Delta Dunarii and coastal countries have an immense potential which up to date has either been insufficiently or not at all capitalized on. However this potential could perfectly ensure the development of those areas.

Stefan Buciuc and “Let’s Do It, Romania!” have approached the concept of responsible tourism with concern to the environment and how it cand be protected. They have raised awareness about the major negative effects of pollution against the flora, fauna, and the local communities – their way of living or their existence per se.

ADEPT Transylvania Foundation was present in the event as an example of good practice for Tarnava Mare area, where the biodiversity and the cultural diversity support the local economy, with a great contribution being made by responsible locals and a good functioning of the touristic programmes developed in the area.

Greentourism Ecologic Association is yet another example of good practice of responsible tourism. They are currently trying to develop a series of green certification scheme.

In celebrating good practice of responsible tourism in Romania, both foreign and local academics have presented studies and research on responsible tourism.

Prof. Dr. Donruetai Kovathanakul from Thailand highlighted the challenges Thailand is currently facing in practicing responsible tourism. Prof. Dr. Fabio Cotifava from Sofia University in Bulgaria has pointed out through his paper the economic significance in the development of responsible tourism, highlighting the main beneficiaries. Prof. Dr. Carlos Flavian with the University of Zaragoza, Spain, presented the findings in his research: online media is an essential pillar to the development of responsible tourism.

From the same theoretical perspective, Prof. Dr. Bulz Nicolae with the Romanian Academy exemplified a cultural path with implications in local tourism development – Dumitru Staniloae and Arsenie Boca’s pilgrimage in the area of Prislop Monastery. Prof. Dr. Dumitru Bortun, with the Faculty of Communication and Public Relations – SNSPA -, has approached the issue of promoting responsible tourism from the point of view of the communication strategies which should be used with this purpose. Prof. Dr. Silviu Negut and Lect. Dr. Marius Neacsu – with the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest – have talked about tourism from the point of view of globalization. Dr. Doina Tataru – with the Centre of Economic Industry and Services – highlighted the necessity of developing tourism in the context of globalization.

Obtained Results

  • Highliting the importance of responsible tourism for the development of rural communities in Romania – an appropriate approach considering the national potential;
  • Pointing out the poor acknowledgment of the concept of responsible tourism and of the methods of implementing it by the local communities’ representatives, especially in rural areas (authorities, economic agents, the communities in general);
  • Creating a platform of promoting the concept of responsible tourism with the aim of raising awareness about this way of practicing tourism;
  • Clarifications about the complexity of the concept of responsible tourism;
  • Identifying the possibilities of capitalizing on both the anthropic and natural potential in Romania through simultaneous integration of economic, social, and environmental aspects in local communities;
  • Raising awareness about the major role played by association in the rural areas, where key figures are local authorities – capable of mobilizing and managing resources, and maintaining connections with central authorities, and NGOs with environmental, social, or cultural projects;
  • Raising awareness on the importance that responsible tourism has for the development of rural areas, where locals can become providers of touristic goods and services – from accommodation and meals to cultural and recreational activities;
  • Facilitating communication between the main actors involved in this sector (authorities, public institutions, research institutes, tourism organizations, specialists in tourism etc);
  • Facilitating access to international expertise by presenting papers, studies, and good practice examples;
  • A special edition of Holidays & Journeys magazine, which focuses on major areas responsible tourism has been implemented in, and on the implications of practicing this type of tourism to the local communities and regional development;
  • Starting the establishment of the Alliance for Responsible Tourism;

After the 2nd edition of the International Forum for the Responsible Tourism, a scientific report will be written on solutions and proposals regarding capitalizing on Romania through responsible tourism.

Produced within the event

  • Abstract proceedings – with 22 submitted papers
  • A special edition of the International Journal for Responsible Tourism. The edition is to be published with an ISSN and will also be indexed in international data bases such as: RePeC Ideas, EconPapers, and Index Copernicus. This special edition contains some of the selected works presented within the event; they are available in full paper.

Everything produced during the event is available on: www.turismulresponsabil.ro and www.amphitheatreconferences.gm.ro.

Proposals

  • Developing the capacity of implementing responsible tourism through courses and training programmes for public servants, professionals, promoters, entrepreneurs in rural areas;
  • Supporting responsible tourism programmes in rural areas, meant as a professional and social axis appropriate for capitalizing on local resources;
  • Internal and international expertise dissemination dealing with capitalizing on rural communities through tourism.