CROSSDEV is creating a Charter of Services for Tourism

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What’s the value of a tourist destination? And what values characterise the tourist destinations we are developing?

These questions were recently answered by CROSSDEV project partners during an online meeting organised by the Italian Ministry of Culture, a brainstorming group activity to enhance the project’s partnership and create a shared message to disseminate among the public while promoting Via Selinuntina in Italy, the Palestinian Heritage Trail, Aqaba and Umm Qais in Jordan, and the Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve in Lebanon, the five areas of implementation of the project.

Hospitality, culture, nature

The most recurring terms that came up during the exercise were "hospitality," "culture," and "nature." Goal of the exercise, though, was not to find already known common values, but to stimulate a discussion and to inspire each participant to find new values through three participatory phases of sharing and discussion: brainstorming by project area; identification of common values; prioritisation and clustering. Many values were identified as shared by all participants, all strongly intersected with each other.

The results were sorted in core values: Cultural Exchange Authenticity, Empowerment, and Responsible Tourism. The pillar that supports them is the collaboration established by CROSSDEV’s network of partners.

Cultural exchange, the cultural aspect features most prominently in all project areas. It is a development driver for all of them. Crucial to develop the tourism product, for our partners culture includes food, local traditions, history and spirituality.

Authenticity of the experience is the hallmark of all project areas, and it is based on two key elements for all destinations: being less-known and making the most of the community-based approach, through which tourists are treated as guests.

Empowerment of the local community, and especially women, youth, and small local entrepreneurs who make their living from tourism or related services.

Responsible tourism both in supply and demand. All tourism businesses should respect and preserve nature, ensure social growth of the local community and commit towards a positive economic impact in the area. When correctly implemented, all these factors also inevitably attract responsible tourists, willing to respect human rights and know and share the hosts’ culture and traditions.

Next steps

As a follow-up of the above activity, in the upcoming months, partners of the CROSSDEV project will work on a shared Charter of Quality Services for Tourism. The document, including values and recommendations listed by our expert partners, will aim at inspiring other tourism actors to best develop their tourism services.

Stay tuned for more information!

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