There have long been concerns about the tourism sector and the role it plays in contributing to climate change, as well as the negative impacts (eg. overtourism) that it can cause in host destinations. New forms of tourism are constantly being discussed and endorsed in response to these issues, Responsible tourism, Eco-tourism and Nanotourism to name a few, however it is the latter that I will be exploring today. Nanotourism: what is it, and how can it help us?
Certain cities have become known for their struggles with overtourism, destinations like Amsterdam and Barcelona, who suffer from attracting the ‘wrong type of tourists’. Those that come for a weekend of drinking and partying, contributing little to the destination and rarely learning anything of the culture and traditions of a place during their stay. This kind of tourism, and the problems it causes, is exactly what Nanotourism aims to avoid.
NEW on @TheScotsman site – @edinburgh has just been named along Rome, Venice, Amsterdam & Barcelona as one of the world’s most serious “overtourism hotspots.”— Brian Ferguson (@brianjaffa) July 3, 2019
Full story & reaction: https://t.co/FJMrxO61zY @scotsman_arts @Scot_Heritage #scotpapers pic.twitter.com/zjBI3tuIlj
1. What is Nanotourism?
Ljubljana-based architects Aljoša Dekleva and Tina Gregorič first coined the term ‘Nanotourism’ in 2014, although the concepts it involves existed previous to this. On their website nanotourism.org, they define it as ‘a constructed term describing a creative critique to the current environmental, social and economic downsides of conventional tourism, as a participatory, locally oriented, bottom-up alternative’.
Essentially, Nanotourism is about the experience itself, on a smaller and more detailed level (hence ‘nano’, Greek for dwarf). It is about taking the smaller, day-to-day aspects of a destination and getting involved and learning, whether that be helping out in public gardens, learning traditional harvesting methods, or an intimate tour of a city’s architecture. These activities can teach us things about a destination on such a unique level, far removed from generic bar-crawls or overcrowded tourist hot spots.
2. How can Nanotourism help us?
Nanotourism encourages an exchange between visitors and the host community, promoting fulfilment for both rather than one simply ‘using’ the other. Through small-scale activities, the nanotourist can become part of the local community, instead of just using a destination as the setting for a generic vacation. As nanotourism.org explains, ‘Instead of superficial one-way observation, one participates, exchanges or co-creates in a two-way relationship and evolves to nanotourist.’
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Hey Soul Fam! ⚡️ #LatePost Weekend Recap ⚡️ Thank you to everyone that came out to 10th Street Community Garden this Saturday! As always, THANK YOU SOUL MUCH for all of your dedication & continued support! Shoutout to the new volunteers, (we love the seasoned ones, too!) Thanks for spending your Saturday with us. Also, shoutout to Develop U for bringing some fun, hardworking, young men! We hope they learned something and enjoyed servicing the community! Thank you, @sagaciousnhandsome for sharing your knowledge with the youngin’s! ✊🏾 Thank you @latinxdallas for providing us with lunch! (No photos were captured because we were too busy enjoying the food.) 🤤 • • • • • • • • #cooperationovercompetition #communitygardening #unity #love #fortheculture #volunteer #dallas #veggiegarden #dallasvolunteers #oakcliffveggieproject #dfw #gardening #saturdayvibes #community #communitylove #dallasgardening #dallastexas #growyourownfood #grow #freeproduce #produce #community #growyourveggies #communityfirst #oakcliff #ocvp #dallasgardening #oakcliffveggieproject #family #feedthepeople #nonprofit
3. Potential during the pandemic and in the future
In the current pandemic, Nanotourism also offers a huge advantage in that we can nanotourist anywhere and everywhere, including our own home. Getting involved in local initiatives, from community gardens to cooking classes, enables us to learn new skills and meet new people. We can seek new opportunities on our doorstep and create meaningful experiences in order to discover a whole new perspective on our otherwise familiar surroundings, and what better time to do this than in the current climate?
We can take this opportunity to practice being responsible travellers at home, and then bring our new attitudes and practices with us when we can once again travel internationally, carrying with us the best parts of tourism. As Dekleva and Gregorič explain, ‘It is not about scale, but is a projected ability to construct responsible experiences from the bottom-up…’