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A PIG AS A GUIDE? A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN OR NOT SO MUCH?


This blog post will provide you with a small insight on the matter…

Let's start off with a minor explanation on sustainability methods in tourism. We can define sustainable tourism as "Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities"

This definition stresses upon an interesting triumvirate, namely the visitors and hosts, the environment and lastly the economy or industry. These three divisions are also called the three Ps: people, planet and profit or the "Triple Bottom Line", a term coined by John Elkington in 1994.

This concept identifies tourism as a main vehicle for financial revenue (profits) and direct and indirect investments (social and environmental), which are geared towards local development and conservation. It is a dynamic tourism model that encourages active private/public partnerships at local, national and international levels.

"People" pertains to fair and beneficial business practices toward labour and the community and region in which a corporation conducts its business.

"Planet" (natural capital) refers to sustainable environmental practices.

"Profit" is the economic value created by the organization after deducting the cost of all inputs, including the cost of the capital tied up.

Hence, how does this fit in Tour Guiding principles and how can a Tour Guide integrate the Triple Bottom line in their tours, organization and overall destination?

Well, let me explain by showcasing a great tour I did a while ago in the small rural town Oosteeklo in the East of Flanders. A tour with striking name: On the Road with Félicienne, which was organized by the countryside center Meetjesland and the local Guide Association.

First and foremost, this isn't your mediocre country side Tour but an extraordinaire experience Tour. Mostly because Félicienne isn't common at the least, as she is a humongous pig. Yes you read this correctly, a PIG!

This is no coincidence, as this region is well known for their farming and pig culture. Even the locals proudly carry 'the pigs' as their nickname. In the company of Félicienne your able to walk this pleasant 3,5 hour Tour, learning about the local life, culture, history, farming and traditions.

The organizers of this Tour clearly understood the Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet, Profit), as they managed to create an authentic experience considering the local culture, the environment and the local economy.

For example, they involve as many local entrepreneurs as possible in this tour. By walking together with Félicienne, you will pass by a local entrepreneur who is specialized in brewing a very tasty beer or you are given the chance of buying local meat and cheese. The combination of supporting local entrepreneurs and learning about the local traditions and culture from a local, and off course not forgetting walking with a pig, creates a memorable walk.

By establishing a balance in the 3 P's a Tour will result in an unforgettable and pleasurable experience. Hence the creation of the fourth P: PLEASURE. Walking side by side with a gigantic pig, while being told stories about the past and present of the region, made me more involved and enthusiastic to learn. By implementing these 4 P's any Tour Guide organization, will be able to fully create a Tour experience to last and never to forget.

Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I'll remember. Involve me, I'll understand.

Learn more on our Innoguide Educational Platform.

Written by Sanne Cras, Innoguide Project Partner, Coordinator of the Sustainability Module, Project Manager ViaVia Tourism Academy.

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