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  • Online session 7: Work Integration Social Enterprises

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European Commission – Social Economy in the fight against Corona

Sustainable Tourism Webinar

1. Presentation of ISTO

2. Examples of initiatives  

3. Promote a Sensible Tourism Tomorrow  


1. Presentation of ISTO

  • Non-profit Organisation established in 1963


  • ISTO’s main missions are :


  • Promote the development of  tourism for all and make holidays accessible to the greatest number of people –especially for youth and students, low income families, seniors and retired persons as well as people with disabilities 


  • Promote and support forms of tourism that benefit people, communities and local areas – and which include responsible, fair and community-based tourism.


  • Main actions are dealing with :


  • Representation before national and international institutions
  • Networking its members (events, virtual forum)
  • Dissemination of information (news, academic research,.)
  • Support and participation in projects (INTERREG, Erasmus +,..)


  • 160 members in 40 countries, mainly in Europe, in Latin America and West Africa representing different types of organisations :


  • Most of them are non-profit associations, foundations, cooperatives managing holiday accommodations and tourism facilities, organizing cultural and educational trips, providing support for the organizations of holidays or representing networks of these organisations     
  • But we also have public authorities at national or regional levels having social policies and programs in tourism
  • As well as academic institutions and researchers doing research and providing training in this field        

2. Examples of initiatives  

  • Two types of initiatives
    • Initiatives taken during the crisis
    • Initiatives for the post-crisis


  • Initiatives taken during the crisis 


  • One of the strongest impact in the tourism sector was the closure of most of the tourist accommodations which means in our sector, holiday centers and villages, youth hostels, camping, .. 


  • In some countries, these accommodations were used for medical purposes or for helping people without a place to stay.


  • It was the case in Belgium with the Van Gogh youth hostel based in the center of Brussels. At the end of March, the hostel – which was empty - was asked by local authorities to host homeless during the containment period. Since April 6, the hostel is accommodating 42 persons who can stay there and have meals with the support of the social services provided by the local authorities.


  • Another good example happened in Portugal where the INATEL Foundation which owns 15 holiday centers across the countries and has special programs for seniors was asked by the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security to keep its centers available for seniors who would need to be in safe place while residential cares register people infected by the virus. 


  • In France ; one of the biggest associations managing holiday villages across the country, Village Vacance VVF  - they receive more than 400 000 holidaymakers a year in their 90 villages – has welcome in one of their village in the Puy de Dôme some 30 migrant families with children in dignified conditions during the crisis period. This operation was made possible thanks to the support of the Secours Populaire Français which is permanently present at their side to raise awareness on prevention measures and to bring food, hygiene products and games for the children at home.






  • Post-crisis Initiatives  


  • Several of our members – private or public organisations - are preparing the future and proposing new ideas in order to rebuilt part – but differently with a new vision - of what will be lost after the crisis. Here are some examples.


  • In Italy , the association of the Most Beautiful Villages called Borghi Più Belli – is preparing a communication and marketing plan that will be put in place after the confinement phase.  It is a very articulated plan that foresees the creation of messages aimed at promoting the choice of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy when it will be possible to start travelling again. A campaign that foresees two phases: the first for Italians and the second, later, for the foreign market. The first important initiative will take place in all of their 309 villages at the end of June and will be dedicated to romance in the villages.


  • In France, the Union Nationale des Associations de Tourisme (UNAT) which represents the biggest number of stakeholders in the field of social and fair tourism has made several proposal on short and long terms to the National Government. There are financial proposals in order to help the supply side - national guarantee fund, reduction in property taxes; temporary reduction in VAT, aid to operators, guaranteed loans – but also to support holiday departures for French people especially for children and young people (better access to the summer camps and school trips), for families and seniors (extension of the holiday voucher), as well as for people with disabilities (reduce cost for trips and provide better access to the information).       


  • Public authorities are also playing an important role. It is the case in Belgium where Visit Flanders has made available a budget of 5 million € for social and youth tourism. Additionally, the agency   will no longer   collect rent from youth hostels, which   adds up to an   additional   EUR 1 million   in   support.    


  • In Latin America where we also have several members, its It should be noted that "some countries" such as Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru and Colombia are working on "reactivation plans".


  • One  of the most common trend we can observe is that in many cases, there will be strong policies, programs and promotion in favor of domestic tourism. We all know that international tourism will take to restart and that a lot of people will prefer to go on holidays not too far from home.     


3. Promote a Sensible Tourism Tomorrow  

  • ISTO has prepared a text called “Promoting a Sensible Tourism Tomorrow” which is calling for rethinking tourism and reintegrate it into a much broader societal vision. 


  • This tourism should prioritize the well-being, of each individuals, seeks sustainability in its investments, respect the environment and the territories, encourage contacts between hosts and guests, strives for a fair distribution of the economic growth and encourage local employment.


  • All these components are part of what we call ISTO’s DNA for social, solidarity and responsible tourism based on 5 priority axes : foster accessibility, demonstrate solidarity, ensure quality of life, promote fair business and protect the environment.