Community key to tourism in post COVID-19 world

Muscat: COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the limits of the globalised economy.

Dr Angelo Battaglia, a tourism international expert and policy advisor, told the Observer that globalisation based on the connectivity, supply chains, movement of people for different purposes (tourism, leisure and business travels) have shown how the ‘global fragile world’ was dealing with deep and terrific changes.

Dr Angelo quotes Edgard Morin, the 99-year-old famous French philosopher and sociologist, who in last April wrote a short article explaining and arguing about the crisis and challenge of complexity.

The Muscat-based tourism international expert believes that the analysis from Morin about ‘la crise de la complexité’ is crucial if one wants to understand how the world is changing from a global dimension to a more local perspective.

The meaning of ‘local’ is becoming more and more interesting under different points of view and the tourism sector is reflecting absolutely these dynamics of structural change, he explains.
“The challenge of the complexity or the crises of globalisation suggests how important today is the local dimension and how the ‘local world’ with its social and cultural relations, identities and unique local traditions. It is more appealing and attractive for understanding the current global changes, highlighting the resilient capacity of the local communities to react to these disruptions,” he adds.

Dr Angelo believes that tourism is a fantastic example of this transformation in perceiving the reality, where local experiences and unique natural and cultural landscapes with their authenticity are the most important drivers for the implementation of ‘soft’ tourism development projects and tourism planning strategies everywhere and, in particular, the Sultanate.

“The feeling of ‘being local’ reminds us of an old world in ‘black and white’ where the local characteristics, local storytelling and local places where much more appreciated,” he adds.
He further believes that the Sultanate can positively represent this new approach of focusing on local tourism until the ‘globalised interconnected tourism’ is back on track.

“The Sultanate has extraordinary local destinations, traditional handcrafts, wonderful natural ecosystems, and unique storytelling atmospheres where the Omani communities are the main creative producers of this new way to do tourism,” he explains.

The responsible tourism will take advantage of the inclusiveness and participation of the Omani people in doing tourism by recognising the importance of the social relations and local traditions in developing the tourism products, Dr Angelo concludes.

 

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