With the past few years bringing increased debate around how best to usher in an age of more sustainable travel, especially in countries and cities that are currently experiencing unprecedented visitor numbers, one company in Lisbon called, “We Hate Tourism Tours” has been drawing attention due to its unique approach to the industry.
Started in 2010 by Lisbon local Bruno Gomes, who assembled a group of unemployed friends that had previously worked in diverse fields such as journalism, psychology and photography, the main goal of “We Hate Tourism Tours” is to properly introduce visitors to the city in a responsible, unique and genuine manner. Describing it as a “continuous exchange and cultural enrichment from people who want to see and experience a place in a different way”, the company makes a special effort to help visitors gain an understanding of what makes Portugal different from other places. “To be honest, we are not really trying to stand out. We are not as interested in showing you the city as we are in making you understand it”, Bruno told Lonely Planet Travel News.
The company offers bespoke and personal tour options in both Lisbon and Porto, including a “Lunch in our Home” package that sees visitors being brought to a historical industrial complex that houses different local start-ups to sample Portuguese breads, fish, salad and red and green wine, while a surf experience package is also available that comes complete with a ride to the beach, wetsuit, board rental and lesson, followed by pastries and wine.
2017 has seen a number of popular tourist spots making changes in relation to how visitors experience the city. Most recently, Venice, a city that now experiences 30 million visitors per year, announced the Enjoy Respect Venice campaign, that sees fines being issued to tourists that do not follow basic rules that are currently in place. This summer also saw the launch of a series of monthly webinars promoting adventure travel and sustainable tourism in the Western Balkans, as the region has increasingly become a popular destination attracting independent travellers.
When it comes to these changes, Bruno whole-heartedly agrees. “We should learn from the mistakes of other industries in the past. We know now that sustainability is the key to a better future. If we don’t start now, the damages of the tourism industry are going to be not only environmental, but they will destroy cultures and communities,” Bruno said.
More information on “We Hate Tourism Tours” is available on the official website.