Responsible tourism: Family activity vacation to Sicily, Etna to Isola Bella
Largest of the Mediterranean islands, Sicily exhibits a compelling range of natural environments. Touristic practices which allow clients to responsibly experience each are of the utmost importance, and are continually showcased on this trip.
The Adventure Park visited on Day 2 has been carefully designed with its forest location in mind. Vacationmakers receive full instructions and equipment, ensuring that they are well-equipped to enjoy themselves safely, avoiding damage to the surrounding trees.
When participating in the Isola Bella snorkelling trip, clients are taken around by local guides who are familiar with the waters in these parts. They are also taught how to snorkel sensibly – observing wild species without interfering with them. The case is similar when kayaking in the sea: families paddle in a set area near the hotel and are fully instructed on how to use the equipment provided.
The trekking activities on this vacation follow special routes which wind through the Etna and Taormina hill environments – in both cases, guides are on hand to lead families around and prevent trespassing of any kind.
Body-rafting takes place in the Alcantara Gorge, which is part of the Gole Alcantara Botanical and Geological Park. Transporting clients to such locations instils them with a wider awareness of ecological issues through direct experience.
More and more, tourism is being regarded as the ‘industry of the future’ for Sicily. The island stands as a unique alternative to destinations in mainland Italy, distinguishing itself with a multinational heritage that combines influences from Greek, Arab, and Italian culture.
We seek to promote and promulgate that heritage throughout this vacation. Even something as simple as the welcome and farewell dinners play a part in this process. The memory of taste is a powerful intercultural force that vacationmakers carry with them for the rest of their lives.
In terms of the activities, guides are locally sourced, ensuring that the Sicilian tourism industry experiences direct financial benefit. Furthermore, guides are able to share their passion for the world which they know, and to do so with locally-acquired expertise – whether trekking up Mount Etna, or taking clients around Isola Bella Marine Park. This results in a genuinely native experience for families.
Cultural Trekking is a notable for its benefit on Sicilian communities, as it takes groups of vacationmakers into the more rural areas of the country rather than popular tourist zones. Families are made aware of the island’s history and way of life from a completely new perspective. Not that everything is unfamiliar, of course. Places like Savoca, for example, which served as a filming location for The Godfather, allow clients to make connections with popular culture from back home. As a result, they build a more personalized appreciation of Sicilian culture.
On the subject of personalized experiences, we ensure that group sizes are small, allowing for closer interaction between family groups, local guides, and regional communities.