This is my first regular personal blog so I thought that an introduction may be appropriate.
So, hello! My name is Valere Tjolle and I’ve been in the travel and tourism industry for longer than I’d like so say (actually I fell in love with tourism when I was 8 – so we’re talking 60 years!)
In that time I’ve worked for and run many tour operations. My claim to travel fame (and infame) was creating running a European tour operation for 20 years. Eventually we employed around 500 staff, carried well over 2 million passengers, often made a profit, but went horribly bust in 1992. My fault. Hubris!
Anyway, three years afterwards, I started TotemTourism. The idea being to help destinations to create and market tourism offers that were both good for their communities and good for visitors – in other words – sustainable.
TotemTourism, then and now, specialises in unusual destinations that are packed full of interesting things. But not your common or garden mass tourism holiday destination, of course.
We started with Uganda (a treasure chest of wildlife if ever there was one) and carried on with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The latest is Slovenia Carinthia (stunning, by the way) Over the last 18 years we’ve helped communities all over the world to develop beneficial tourism and offer wonderful experiences to appreciative visitors.
In these endeavors, we’ve been very lucky to work with, and have the support of the World Bank, the European Union, the UN World Tourism Organisation, and the UN Environment Programe.
So that these destination achievements will help others, we also communicate them, and write about other sustainable tourism issues in three ways:
We write news on great authentic tourism each week – it is published in http://www.TravelMole.com – the world’s largest medium for the global travel and tourism industry, with 450,000 travel trade subscribers. And a selection of our news goes on http://www.TotemTourism.com
We compile a series of annual reports – the Sustainable Tourism Report Suite – there are reports on all aspects of sustainable tourism from destinations to marketing – the idea being to explain the advantages of REAL tourism and help anybody benefit from them!.
The Sustainable Tourism Report Suite is currently supported by ABTA, Cape Town Tourism, the Considerate Hoteliers Association, Green Tourism Business Scheme, Discover Ltd and the Amstel Botel. See them HERE
And we run intensive one-day sustainable tourism masterclasses every year for people in the travel and tourism industry so that we can share ideas and benefit from advances.
For the last couple of years we have also been running something even more exciting – the Integrated Tourism Destination Initiative.
Here is the idea: When we go somewhere you don’t just sleep and eat and walk and sightsee – do we? We like to buy things that are typical of the destination – particularly if they are really worthwhile purchases, and we also like to get involved with our destination in different ways, meeting local people, understanding how things work – it all adds great value to our experience. And these actions help the destination too, we become more than just tourists to them, we become friends and supporters too.
So the idea is to get everybody in a destination, the farmers, food producers, artisans, as well as the hoteliers, tourist attractions and guides to be involved in creating and marketing great in-depth tourism – including all the great local products – so that it has benefits for everybody. In particular visitors who will get a much more authentic and fulfilling experience rather than just a quick superficial look!
Naturally, this sort of integrated tourism calls for a different sort of marketing – so over the next few months, we will be putting together some very special tourism offers where a few visitors will have the opportunity of tasting and seeing fabulous local products, food and wine.
The first destination to get this opportunity is Romagna (the half of Emilia Romagna bordered by the sea and the Apennines in the North East of Italy). Its great advantage, apart from its fabulous beaches and amazing art cities… is its extraordinary food and wine.
So look out for something really special in the coming weeks…