Text by Yves Godin, Secretary General of ISTO
The Floreal holiday centres and campsites are, like so many others, at a standstill in Belgium. For us, too, the human being must be at the centre of our current preoccupations.
The covid-19 is a real drama. But in every misfortune, there is a good counterpart! Solidarity and mutual aid are taking hold everywhere, transcending all social and cultural classes and even borders. With my French colleague and friend, Pascal Carrano, Managing Director of Vacances Leo Lagrange, whose establishments are also at a standstill, we take this opportunity to ask ourselves how we can become even more aware of our weaknesses generated by a society that has encouraged over-consumption, individualism and forced egoism too much!
This crisis allows, or even obliges, a return to more civic and supportive behaviour: to become more reasonable in order to safeguard the human species and our society in general.
The containment imposed on us, for the good cause, can allow us to become more aware of how to operate a sustainable and more responsible evolution... This brutal stop produces immediate effects, particularly on the environment, such as the improvement of air quality or, in a more localised way, Venice rediscovering clear waters to which fish are returning. We can see that, united in decisions and action, the effects are almost immediate. The planet, through this virus, is letting us know that it is imperative to strike a better balance between environmental, economic and social issues. More rational consumption, more localized production, more respected employees and better control of energy resources are credible, accessible and effective options for everyone.
Solidarity and sustainable tourism, in addition to its social vocation, defends such principles: respect for local populations, heritage and natural resources by recommending that peaks in mass tourism be avoided: favouring structured tourism, spread out over the year, with its specificities by season, to maintain a constant level of economic activity while making employment more sustainable.
As this pandemic gives us a little more time, I invite you to join us in a discussion forum with your own comments. Many of us will be relaying the fruits of our discussions to the authorities who hold the levers of our future.
In the meantime, be careful, follow the instructions and take good care of yourself and your loved ones.