Interview with Antonio Barone, Director of the Phoenicians’Route about the partnership with the Creative Tourism Network(R)


  • What is the Phoenicians’ Route?

“La Rotta dei Fenici” comes from the consideration that the Mediterranean Sea in ancient times was contact tool between the communities of different ethnic groups and the civilizations that inhabited it. Then it became a frontier. It is necessary to return to a more open vision of the ancient maritime routes that led from east to west and vice versa, and from south to north, knowledge, products that came from afar and which today identify the Mediterranean world. The objectives of the Route are, therefore, intercultural dialogue through the improvement of the common cultural heritage, the resulting sustainable development, the implementation of Mediterranean culture and the communities of today, the heritage pedagogy as a tool for the growth of the young generations. Naturally, we consider sustainable, slow, responsible, creative and experiential tourism that can contribute to local development. The Route is governed by a network of national, local and cross-cutting thematic networks. Today there are cultural, educational and tourist operators from 12 countries, but others are being added. Among these, we mention the IOST – International Organization of Social Tourism, OTIE – Tourist Observatory of the European Islands, FEISCT – European Federation of Historical Cultural Touristic Routes, national networks of Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, France, Malta, Tunisia, Lebanon and in Jericho.

  •  Can you list any of your actions?

Among the most interesting actions we have the Network of the Mediterranean Schools – Edu.Net, which promotes intercultural travel and twinning between schools, the Mediterranean Museums Network – Me.Mu.Net,  IUN – International Universities Network for the Phoenicians’ Route , for the development of research and innovative strategies. Then every year, between March and April, we organize an event that brings together all the events we carry forward in the Mediterranean: the Ancient Mediterranean Days, with events in all the areas where we operate. But let us not forget the applied methodologies, such as Heritage Pedagogy, communicative interpretation and others. That’s why we offer operators training meetings and continuous updating on new tourism models, tourist hospitality, training for tourist guides, hospitality and catering networks, actions for the promotion of new businesses, especially for young people. We also have specific fairs, like the BTE in Sicily. Finally, every year meetings between partners such as the Assembly, called “Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue”,  which has passed the tenth edition, celebrating fifteen years of activity this year.

  • Who are the beneficiaries?

The beneficiaries of the Route are all: places and destinations, to develop their hospitality offer; tourists, who can visit special places; the operators, who can improve their work; local communities, which can finally develop a strategy based on their identities and sustainability, creating new opportunities for citizens and young people and growing in terms of understanding others, following the principles of intercultural dialogue.

  • How does all this translate into a tourist offer?

The tourist offer we work on has ethical aspects and economic aspects. In fact, it is an offer respectful of environmental and social sustainability, but lays the foundation for a new tourism that can really give development to the territories. This is why Phoenicians’ Route can be understood as a large en pleinair laboratory where research, implementation of strategies and the final offer are taken care of and made available to local communities, the real protagonists of the process.

  •  What do you think are the advantages of creative tourism for the Phoenicians’ Route or cultural itineraries in general?

“La Rotta dei Fenici” has always considered the activities that can be defined as creative tourism. Precisely because we observe what the community offers and how it compares with its past, cultural and natural heritage, its identity, its immaterial culture. Only in this way can we think of building a future made up of activities that can last over time keeping the primary resource, ie the territorial context and the characteristics of the local community. But all this within an international network through which to share good practices, strategies and ideas.

  • How do you envisage this collaboration with Creative Tourism Network®?

With CTN we share visions and mission. We do very similar things and pursue the same goals. This is why we are honored to propose La Rotta dei Fenici as Route of creativity and experience. The tools of this collaboration could be communication, training and shared planning on a Mediterranean scale. Moreover, this collaboration is in line with the open reflections of the Erasmus + “All Tourist” project on the themes of the most innovative forms of tourism to offer to the territories.