Let me tell you a story, which inspired me and made me think. Maybe the video takes you to another world and state of mind , but I had a need to share my loud thinking, because in the end this is exactly (at least from my perspective) the tourism we have to build and talk about.
The video is not an a priori tourist film, but a short film with shots of Istria, which, according to one of the authors of the film Sanel Isanović from the company Level 52, reports that tomorrow comes even better, nicer and brighter.
This is a story of respect, pride, belonging and ultimately love for one's region, identity, homeland, way of life and culture.
It is not about advertising, promotion or the like but more about the voice of hope and encouragement. Because no matter how hard it is at the moment, the sun comes after the rain. This is perhaps most stories of a sense of belonging and togetherness.
Thus, the Labin company Level 52, in anticipation of the day when they will again be able to capture the natural beauties and landscapes of their country, decided to show the admiration they feel for their surroundings with a short video.
I shivered after this video. Especially since it is an expression of respect and belonging, as I stated before.
It is this affiliation that is emphasized at the end of the film - Like Istrians do, that prompted me to think about the authenticity itself, which is the very essence of tourism, as well as the current difficult when tourism literally stopped.
As every crisis and opportunity, this is an opportunity for a new tourism paradigm, new sustainable and healthy foundations, redefinition of the tourism product, rebranding and repositioning. Now it's time to reset.
And that’s exactly why we need to go back to the basics and roots in our tourism story.
Let us be what we are - it must be our main tourist product. It is authenticity and diversity in the way and culture of living that is the main motive for travel. But in our path of tourism development, we have lost touch with ourselves. We ran for quick and easy earnings, especially from rent, we ran for numbers, waved our hand at all warnings, and worst of all we lost our identity.
It is as if we are ashamed of our identity, history, way of life and culture, and that is, as I have emphasized, our best tourist product. Figuratively, we sold French wines to the French, instead of our wines and our story. We didn't care about the little man, we didn't pay attention to our main resource - the space, which we destroyed by unplanned construction, and got a visual architectural monster.
We are constantly trying to be someone else. We try to copy, but I wonder who ever wants to visit a copy versus the original.
To draw a parallel with gastronomy. It makes no sense to copy dishes and all global recipes. It makes sense to offer an authentic kitchen, but on the contrary, to upgrade it and modernize or interpret it through various modern techniques and methods of preparation as well as presentations. But the base still needs authenticity. As the famous chef Mate Janković once said: “Quality and home-grown food is a luxury"
And we just need that kind of tourism. We have to tell stories, our authentic stories.
We need to have more taverns and fewer classic restaurants with the same offer of spaghetti, pizza and kebabs. More organic and home-grown food, and less from imports. More involvement of the local population in our tourism product, so that consumption is dispersed on all, not one. We need to value domestic labor more, not turn them into “modern slaves” as cheap labor. We need to look more in the long run, not the short term.
Respect yourself, so that others will respect you
If we do not respect ourselves, we cannot expect others to respect us. And otherwise we have a complex of "small" country, and this is also reflected in our tourism product - where we constantly want to be copies of others, we strive for standardization, and on the way we lost ourselves. Who are we and what are we? What do we sell as our tourism product? For whom?
Tourism is not an end in itself, if it does not directly raise the quality of life of the local population and the local economy.
In order for the story to be true and immersive, we need to live that our culture and way of life, not pretend to be tourists. We must be proud. Perhaps the best examples and associations, at least to me, are our neighbors - the Italians. No one can say they don’t respect themselves and how they are just selling that story of theirs. When I visited Tuscany and talked to the hosts, that’s exactly what I felt at every turn.
But in order to sell that story, I really have to live it. Not to just sell it and that artificial kindness as a show. As foreign guests who visit Slavonia often say. You have that unspoiled kindness. The tourist is not a number, just a room but a person with a name and surname.
"It is Earth Day that seems to be an opportunity to share this video, which tends to become a new reminder of how special and magical Istria is. And the people who live in Istria are certainly special, as they point out at the end of this film, who appreciate and respect their homeland”Points out Isanović and adds that from the archival material they composed a kind of homage to Istria, and with original music and copyright they say that the world will embrace us again after quarantine, this time on our doorstep.
Tourist mosaic - every cube is important, no matter how small, because it is what makes the picture complete.
Get to know and appreciate - as the title of this film says. We need to get to know ourselves again, appreciate and live that story, and then it will sell itself out and be interesting to others to experience our way and culture of living.
Tourism is like a mosaic of images. It consists of a thousand elements, and of course not everything can and cannot be perfect, but the main picture must tell our story.
Let's be what we are - Croats. It must be our main tourist product.
Finally, I will repeat a quote from a French astronaut who talks about the Earth while watching it from the International Space Station (ISS) for the documentary "The Future Towards Starck"
"When you look at the Earth from space, don't be surprised if you get chills or tears. It's so impressive. If all people could see the earth from space, they would realize that we are all the same, that we are all in the same spacecraft - and a small one! The parallel is even clearer in our ship. You have limited resources, so pay attention to every drop of water you drink, wash yourself, pay attention to electricity consumption because you must not run out of it. We must think on Earth as we do on a ship. What is our goal on Earth? Let's all live together. May we all be happy, may we pass on to children the joy of living, creating, discovering and may we find a way for the human race to survive as long as possible in the future. “
Such a fantastic metaphor. Happy Day to our beautiful and our planet Earth.
PS This is not a work of the Tourist Board of Portugal, but a domestic company from Labin specializing in the production of advertising and documentary films. Yes, we have something to be proud of and be globally competitive.