On the 27th and 28th of November 2018, in the splendid setting of Rocca Paolina in Perugia, the BITAC (Italian Exchange for Cooperative and Associative Tourism) was held, an event sponsored and organized by the Alliance of Italian Tourism Cooperatives in collaboration with AITR (Italian Responsible Tourism Association), of which Case Valdesi, Hotel e Foresterie is member.
The Area Accoglienza of the Diaconia Valdese and Casa Cares www.casacares.it , our holiday accommodation located in the rolling Florentine hills, participated in the second work day with two separate locations. The latter, just so that you can understand the spirit of the event, consisted of a table and stool in cardboard, completely recyclable!
Taking part in this event gave us the opportunity to “network” with sector operators (cooperatives, consortia, accommodation facilities, tour operators and incoming agencies) who share our values of hospitality towards people – before those towards tourists – who are particularly sensitive to issues related to protecting the environment, promoting the culture of the territory, and, in short, adopting the best practices of Responsible Tourism.
Given the unique nature of the participants, the contacts were very good in terms of quality. We sensed that there was a real interest in the Diaconia Valdese’s activities, not only in hospitality, but also services and social-educational and welfare projects generally being carried out in Italy. Sharing professional and human experiences was definitely interesting and stimulating.
The Case Valdesi’s spot was in a room dedicated to AITR. For some members, including us, BITAC was the right opportunity for presenting Extra Hotels Esperienze per un Turismo Responsabile Associato (Extra Hotels Experiences for an Associated Responsible Tourism). This business network, recently established, is still undergoing definition. Members include Case Valdesi (with 7 accommodation facilities in various Italian regions), La Piccola Carovana Cooperativa Sociale www.lapiccolacarovana.net (which offers hotel and restaurant services through the management of two hotels and an inn in Bologna, as well as other services), Ballarò www.ballaro.org (which manages hostels in Sicily, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna) and Guarnerio Soc. Coop. www.guarnerio.coop (which provides cultural and tourism services to the public and private sectors, based in Udine).
We and the aforementioned businesses felt the need to join forces in order to become more productive and competitive, to share knowledge and experience and develop greater innovative potential, as well as creativity and dynamism. Closer collaboration will help make our structures more international and get them onto new markets; it will also help to standardize the quality of the production process and streamline some management costs.
Some of the goals set for the immediate future include the creation of an internet portal in the name of Extra Hotels, where those involved can highlight the structures and services offered (not only their own but also others in the surrounding area) – and the creation of a vertical network where other operators not necessarily working in hospitality can join in order to complete the tourism offer for the traveller.
Case Valdesi shares the Charter of Values with the other members of Extra Hotels. The Charter can be summarized in the following points:
– WORK: full and good employment. Training and updating of employees.
– HOSPITALITY: respect, transparency and dialogue. Civil, social and cultural commitment.
– ECONOMY: support for the closest local economy. Short, organic and fair trade supply chains.
– COMMUNITY: protagonism of the local community. Sustainable development of the territory.
– ENVIRONMENT: good practices to protect the environment. Reduction of food waste
– ACCESSIBILITY: broad and real accessibility in the structures. Hospitality that fosters full integration and social inclusion.
We are aware of having undertaken a not entirely downhill path! However, the values and skills that bind us – as well as the differences that make us unique and that we consider to be resources – give us strong motivation and enthusiasm that we hope to have passed on to you.
If you have read this far and you agree, know that you can do your part by staying at the Diaconia Valdese facilities or simply by sharing this article.
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