The Slow Tourism movement was initiated in Italy in 1989, by the Slow Food Movement.
Just as Slow Food invites us to take time to taste local and quality products in reaction to junk food, Slow Tourism offers an alternative to mass tourism which pushes us to travel faster and faster...
This alternative tourism form appeared around 1999, and defends a slow journey with little pollution, where one takes his time. Slowness is considered as an essential condition for immersing oneself in other places and customs. We can generally distinguish two types of slow-tourists, which can, of course, be combined:
1. Those who travel slowly from one place to another and
2. Those who prefer to immerse in one particular place.
Slow-tourism is built around five key ideas:
Take your time, relax, disconnect:
This consists in taking your time to rest in one place and discover the landscapes without precise objectives or predefined circuits.
Support the local economy:
As in the Slow-Food movement, one of Slow-Tourism's main ideas is to consume local products and support local businesses. It may be as simple as being hosted by the locals rather than staying in a hotel. In addition to a better distribution of wealth on the spot, travellers are immersed deeper into the place they visit.
Preserving the environment, a positive carbon footprint:
In Slow-Tourism, the main aim is to use as much as possible clean, non-motorised means of transport as possible and to favour public rather than individual transport. This naturally leads to favour nearby destinations rather than destinations requiring a long flight.
Create a link with the local population:
This is undoubtedly one of the most important recurrent themes of Slow-Tourism. It encourages us to give more sense to our journey, to perceive and appreciate the world around us. Interacting with the inhabitants, their culture, their spiritual ties whether by staying with the locals, or by contributing in the development of local projects, is fundamental. This, of course, involves taking your time and often staying in one place for a while.
Get off the beaten track:
Since Slow-Tourism invites us to be closer to the population, the rhythms and customs, nature and to move away from the classic touristic roads, the choice to leave the beaten tracks is almost inevitable. The most beautiful encounters with people and nature happen in places not inaccessible by local transport.
In short, the practice of Slow-Tourism allows the traveller to discover a country slowly, but also to enjoy a deeper experience in connection with the local population and their way of life. For the local population, this helps to create a link with travellers and to make a real profit from tourism.
In a long term vision, this mode of travelling could also lead to a better distribution of tourist traffic in a country and create a fair and harmonious balance of wealth.