Please respect my home - Alternatives to mass tourism
Here he is. I don't know what it is but everytime I open the computer and go on a meeting he wants go get in my lap Non- camera shy No he's not, is he I started off like many young people in Europe Going on interrail trips in my university vacations And I love seeing where I'm going And travelling on forms of transport, ships and trains that treat you like a human being I'm sure I've heard the word "eco-tourism" but usually it just seems to mean travelling by train and ship rather than air I was commuting to and from London and the day came when I finally finished my novel Not the novel I was writing The novel I was reading on the train home I went into the newsagent to buy something to read and found a "teach yourself" book It was more of a magazine about how to write HTML and how to get a web page online Possibly the best £2,95 I've ever spent It's always been very easy for me to take the train from the UK to Austria, Finland, Spain, wherever but it still is really difficult to find anyone in the commercial world meaning the rail industry or the wider travel industry who will tell you how to do it They want to put you on flights, flights, car hire and more flights So I thought I would put this information online Listing major cities like Rome, Venice, Madrid and how to get there by train So London to Nagasaki via Moscow, Vladivostok and Tokyo or London to Marrakech via Paris and Madrid Eco tourism, solidarity tourism It's the kind of tourism that serves the nature and also the local community So being closer with the local people To share the culture and stuff like that My name is Hicham I am a tourism promoter in this area My organization is "Taounate eco tourism" I have a lot of activities related to the local community So this is my cousin In the village we have the blood relations, so we're all like family You can follow me. This is my house. Welcome This is my wife Hayat My wife helps me a lot We work together for the sake of the local community and the nature Welcome to my kitchen Small kitchen but big heart It's my parents house which was constructed around 1997 At that time my father had a dream to build his house He had built two rooms but it wasn't yet finished But unfortunately he passed away One of the reasons I came here besides promoting the tourism was to complete the dreams of my father and my mother Especially after corona Global warming and stuff like that I think many people think about alternative tourism Welcome People are looking for places where they can feel safe, healthy You roll it like this and you cut it, or you can have it as it is A place like this can be good for people who come from big cities who come to relax and enjoy the good food here which is locally grown It's slow living So the eco tourism in the Balkans in Macedonia is still... far away And also using alternative transport like trains or other transportation Before, you know, we were an unknown destination I was doing my Masters in Italy in tourism, communication and culture And I came back here because Macedonia is a very small country There is a big opportunity for new ideas So I came back home I took the license to become a tour guide Have you heard of the term "Eco tourism"? Yes - What do you think about it? Well, it's a good thing that should be more How would you say... expanded here
because there are conditions but people don't do much about it Do you think there's a good potential for it here? Yes I think there is, there are lakes there are mountains But I think Greece and Turkey are better for it They have more of everything sea and everything, you know But it depends who wants what If you want mountains and lakes- then yes Sustainable tourism and Village tourism because in Macedonia we have so many small towns Unfortunately these places are slowly dying Travelling is changing I see that more and more travellers now are tired of the classical tours sleeping in hotels And more and more travellers are ready to pay for an experience I don't want to treat people who come on my tours like tourists whose money I want I want to explain that behind "Skopje Walking Tours" there is a person Maybe one of the few young people in Macedonia that still sees some future here Have you ever heard of the term "eco tourism"? What do you think about it? I think it's the only possible solution that we have The way that we are living in the capitalistic system is not sustainable for the rest of the World I mean, maybe just for us Europeans and Western culture in general But if you translate this to the new, emerging countries like China or... I'm just thinking China because it's the most typical example But there are not enough resources on the planet for all of us I criticize the way of life of the Western side a lot But I also participate a lot in it, so so it's hard to balance I try to make my Co2 finger print on this planet as small as possible in the context and the conditions that I am living I would like to travel more eco-friendly but my economical situation is usually the determining factor If it was up to me I'd actually rather use ground transportation We just consume too much I mean, it's selfish to be here travelling as well, isn't it but you always have to balance between what you want to do and what's good for the planet I'd like for people to be choose more sustainable options When I started Seat61 If somebody told me why they were going by rail, not flying They would typically say they had a flying phopia And what people tell me now is they want to cut their Co2 emissions But they also want a better alternative to the airport and airline experience From a travel agent's point of view Airline is easy to book If you want to book a train travel across Europe It's much more complicated and takes more effort It's hard to book, great to do Air travel is easy to book but awful to do We try to minimize carbon footprinting but it's very hard When you are in the Balkans you don't have many choices of travelling from place to place Especially the young people are keen to use public transport In Kosovo we have different kinds of tourists Regional tourists, who come from neighbouring countries Kosovo diaspora and foreign staff who work in Kosovo - Hello there! - Good morning, or good afternoon. How are you? So there is EULEX, KFOR troops embassies of foreign countries But most of them are foreign tourists Welcome to my office In 2013 I was leading a group from the UK We were searching for some new caves up in the mountains of northwestern Kosovo I was not so familiar with the place But suddenly when we came out from the woods There was a big field going up Right in the middle of the field about 100m away there was an old man sitting, smoking with some sheep I could see lot of very strange cans and tins The girl, she was a doctor from England She said: "All these local people here, they eat lots of canned food?" I said Please don't move, let me see These are actually the bombs She said "Oh my God!" She was so excited "Can I take one for a souvernier?" I said "Oh my God- please don't touch anything" These were cluster bombs throw at the Montenegrin army at the time, the The Yugoslavian army We are mostly focused on hiking trails and different activities that we do in the nature Cave trekking, which is unique to Outdoorkosovo It's the great canyon cave The Rugova canyon And it's 13,2km of cave passages It's very narrow here Hmmm... you have to be very slim to go inside And very brave The guests, I always ask them what they liked the most I get the two, three same answers from most of them It's the kindness of people The food... of course and the nature And usually after a few days spent with them they always ask "Can I ask you something about the past, the history and the war..?"
Of course When you go to a guest house up there and you stay with a family In the evening, after you finish dinner you sit with them, you talk with them about problems, about the past and they are very happy to speak to everyone So this, for me, is interaction with people It's much more interesting and it's going to stay much longer in your memory than just going from place to place and taking photos To be honest, for me Eco-tourism, sustainable tourism or alternative tourism I'm trying to mix them all So, you work close with the nature and towards the preservation of the nature For example, if one of the mountain villages has too many tourists I try to spread to other villages so it's more sustainable and you give a chance to other families to work somehow You don't have to move from Kosovo and go to Germany to work because this is a good business all year around Hello. How are you? Welcome! This is where his house is And then he built the next one and now he doesn't stop He's gonna build a big hotel With 200 rooms I work with my family here I started seven years ago We started with one, and now we have five houses We're bulding something for tourists But all the time we try to preserve the nature We are working on hiking trails Cooperating with other families who produce milk and cheese They buy stuff from them so they can be more sustainable, the whole village Yeah, this is the biggest village of the Rugova mountains So if you go up past the villas here the village continues on for 8km 5 to 15 years ago people just left the village and went to the town, the cities for a better life, for school And now people started coming back to their land to build houses, guest houses To work with tourism It is a good idea to invest here I've often had to step back and explain more for the benefits, to the overseas visitors For an American, having spent their whole life on cars and planes The concept of a train The concept of sitting where you like on a train is strange "Do you check your bags in?" No, just take them with you. Stick them on a rack. And for us it's so normal to take a bag onto a train You don't even think about it They think about it. They overthink about it. Once people try going by train you get a convert almost every time because they find it so simple And once people get the possibilities that are offered Then they don't seem to mind the difficulty of booking Air travel has really persuaded people that travel is complicated Morocco or Marrakech It's a unique city and a unique country The lighting, the people, the hospitality, the food We have a rich culture But it's an old culture, it's now new Aya's caftan shop I started to help the craftsmen and women preserve this work by hand Because nowadays it's all more commercial and people want to get money quickly The young generation don't want to to make a kaftan or tunic for three weeks They don't have the patience for that I don't think that we'll lose our culture in general but we will lose something more handmade I'm so happy to protect this work by hand My love. Did you sleep well?
Yes Some people don't know exactly what eco tourism is They relate to it as something which is done only from one side But in fact it's a responsibility for both the tourist and the host and the local community This guy is trimming the trees to get a better olive production The brahcnes, they collect them and use them for firewood This area offers a lot of activities for different ages Some activities are particular only to the women Like for example the traditional process of extracting essential oils Trekking and hiking This is usually for the young people The old people just want to enjoy the tranquility of the place And also, some people are interested in the local handicraft and they come here to do courses in pottery You know, daily activities with the people Before I came here I was working for six years with tourism in Fes But since corona came my life has changed So one of the reasons I'm doing this eco tourism or this business The number of the youth is decreasing in this area and in the rural area in general because of the lack of jobs If everyone leaves, who can live in this area? The vision, I am struggling with it that I am the only one that has this vision If I want to share it with authorities they don't react over it There is no government plan for promoting and developing tourism in this area Since I came here I've had a lot of difficulties I'd like to show you one of the examples we've faced So all people come to this area to enjoy it The elders, the young So from the dead wood we made benches We built those because the older There's no place where they can sit So we got some difficulties with the local authorities They don't let us build the benches unless we have the autorization which we find kind of silly They blind their eyes about it Maybe they have the short vision about eco tourism I think the vision of tourism will become different from what it was before You know, going to different tourism fairs you see these trends going on there After the pandemic there was a new term Soft adventures People working in offices want some activities but they are not well prepared or don't have that fitness level, for example So I developed cave trekking, which is for example, one is a short one 1,5 hours And even small kids of 5-6 years can do it with the family The demand for soft adventures is increasing There are lots of challenges in Kosovo Kosovo doesn't have a ministry of tourism Six, seven years ago tour operators like myself I couldn't get any insurance Liability insurance towards the tourist The insurance companies said We don' t do that in Kosovo- why do you need it? They're moving a little bit forward with the new tourism law which was introduced only a few months ago In some parts of Kosovo there is already a big threat of mass tourism They are much more focused on city tours They see tourists, they open a shop and they want to sell something or a small hotel They are not focused on doing tours in the nature and towards the local villagers who live there Right now they've started to think about it But still... Somebody has to push them