The Italian Free Walking Tour network meets in Turin
On the 29th, 30th November and 1st December, the 3rd meeting of the Italian Free Walking Tour network was held in the Italian northern city of Turin. Free Walking Tour realities came from all over the country to attend what has become a not-to-be-missed appointment: three days of sharing and discussions about ideas, proposals and challenges. Since the network first met in Modena in October 2017, many things have been changing so far: first of all, Free Walking Tour is increasingly perceived as a positive trend by the Italian public opinion and tour guides. More and more people are getting engaged with the project, as they see the innovative and captive features of a cultural format constantly developing. The potential growth for such activities has raised the attention of international players too, who have now seized their gaze on the Italian market as the new frontier for their business expansion. This raises the question how to make the difference: in the moment more and more actors are facing the market, how do we create value? The stress on the employment of licensed tour guide only, the social impact of circular economy, the people-centered approach of our action are just few examples of the social campaign we designed. Now, we are different, but what are we really? Free Walking Tour Italia is first of all a network of people sharing a vision and a strong identity. The latter emerged as the driving issue during the workshop <<How are we perceived outside?>> and <<How do we project identity?>>.
Identity-building was highlighted as a very powerful strategic tool to enlarge the network and catch the attention of new local tour guides willing to cooperate. Free Walking Tour has been long perceived as the enemy of the licensed tour guides because of the general thought that it was mainly performed by unauthorized amateur. That’s no longer the case: many licensed tour guides have voluntarily decided to start their own Free Walking Tour because they believe it’s a genuine way to promote local culture and to live their job with much more freedom, rather than face the risk be exploited by tour operators. Free Walking Tour Italia wishes to promote a different and more human model of tourism - relational, respectful, and circular - for a ‘bottom-up’ approach towards our cultural heritage. We would like to welcome any tour guides wishing to become a partner of our network. We know the 2020 will be a year of challenges, yet we feel now wise enough to face them.
Photo Credit by Marco (Merk) Bruno