24.03.2014 - UNESCO Office in Venice

My journey from the Dolomites to the Lagoon of Venice. Towards sustainable and responsible tourism

© Giulia Frigimelica – Burano

We have contacted for an interview Giulia Frigimelica, an intern in the Science Unit of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy). We were interested to hear from her and to get some feedback about her 3-month stay with us. Giulia comes from Belluno, a beautiful Alpine town near ‘The Dolomites’, a World Heritage property in Northeastern Italy and an area of exceptional beauty which she deeply loves.

Giulia now lives in Venice during the week for her studies and goes back home during holidays and weekends. She took time to reply to our questions, to share with us her impressions about the internship at UNESCO and her aspirations for the future.

What is your educational background, and why did you want to intern at UNESCO?

As part of my journey from the Dolomites Mountains to the Venetian lagoon, I studied Science and Techniques in Cultural Tourism at the University of Udine. The 3-year Degree course aimed at creating a cultural and professional profile that integrates basic cultural knowledge in the various disciplinary fields with technical, practical and organizing competences in the field of cultural tourism.

After completing my Bachelor’s Degree, I moved to Venice to take part in a second cycle Degree of the Intercultural Programme on Tourism Systems organized by the University Ca’ Foscari. This Master’s Degree is providing students with an interdisciplinary knowledge and the tools needed to meet tourism market needs. It further aims at forming experts in the development and intercultural promotion of tourism systems and markets, and equipping them with a multidisciplinary education which will enable them to support the growth and competitiveness of tourism destinations.

During my studies, I became more and more interested in the theme of sustainability. In fact, as part of my undergraduate studies, I did an internship on this topic with two journalists, Chiara Meriani and Debora Dal Don. Since long, both write articles on sustainable tourism and eco-travelling. Through communication, they wish people to know about the negative effects of mass tourism and to give them an alternative choice which could indeed be sustainable tourism. The experience was stimulating and it helped me map out my career path while suiting my interests.

What do you think you gained from your internship? What were the most important aspects?

For this second internship, I wanted to try a new field, something I often studied but I never had a chance to experience. When I applied for an internship at UNESCO, I felt very fortunate to receive this opportunity to intern for the office in Venice. During my internship, I had the possibility to combine my interests not only for sustainability and communication, but also for UNESCO designated sites. This experience will be very useful in drafting my dissertation and it will also help me analyze situations in an objective way.

What are your goals for the future? What happened after the internship? How has your internship influenced your choices so far?

The future? It’s a big question! The internship at UNESCO has helped me understand what truly is a World Heritage site and a Biosphere Reserve established and recognized by the UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. This is very important for me since I live and work in an area belonging to ‘The Dolomites’, a site inscribed on the World Heritage site in 2009, widely regarded as being among the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world. It is also a source of inspiration for my dissertation about the responsibility towards UNESCO designated sites and the “sustainability education” needed for tourists during their holidays and their everyday life, using ‘The Dolomites’ as a case study.

After finishing my studies, I would love to have an experience abroad to round out my education. I very much love being in close touch with nature and working with animals; my family has a farm and during the summer I am used to staying in a hut in the Alps, where I milk my cows and goats, and prepare cakes for tourists. Perhaps you may find it strange but for me it is so beautiful there and I get a lot of satisfaction from my work. I hope one day to find a way to combine all my passions: the communication of the importance of sustainability in sensitive areas, such as ‘The Dolomites’, and the work that now I do with my family.

Link: The Dolomites




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