The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Inclusion and intercultural aspects in astro-tourism activities
San Donato in Poggio, Firenze
11-13 July 2018
Who is “a tourist”?
Tourist – A curious person who want to explore his or her local territory, but also foreign lands both natural or built by men, and the Universe on the whole!
This international workshop, organized by professional astronomers and professional communicators of science, was intended to create an opportunity to explore and define the most innovative opportunities in the field of Astrotourism.
Topics ranged from the common roots of astronomy, useful to promote intercultural projects, to the definition of itineraries (both real and virtual) available to everyone, with particular care to disabilities and to methods enhancing these experiences through social media.
From the dawn of history, astronomy has been an important factor in human development.
The beauty and regularity of the sky has been a source of wonderment and the ability to predict the motions of the Sun and stars were decisive factors in the emergence of agriculture and navigation in early civilizations. A yearning for knowledge about our roots has resulted in a deep curiosity about the origin and history of the Sun and Moon, the stars and galaxies and the Universe itself.
Presently, more than ever, the Public demand for activities and scientific outreach paths, in particular those telling about the cosmo, is very high. For this reason, joining science outreach and territory heritage is an imperative and crucial issue, which requires a high level planning. Doing that, we believe in inclusion: thematics such as integration, intended not only as cultural integration but also as the chance of shared fruition with people affected by disabilities, become a must. Italy, in particular INAF through its network of communication, education and outreach experts distributed all over the national territory, or the Osservatorio Polifunzionale del Chianti having the first national astronomical path for blind people, performs and plans paths like these. So, we offered an opportunity to stimulate a discussion in order to achieve a real definition of itineraries and proper methods to implement them in an European contest, in full agreement with the goals of the International Astronomical Union. See [Astronomy for Development – Building from the IYA2009 – Strategic Plan 2010–2020]
1) Best practices in astro-tourism
Under this topic we might consider examples of very successful activities which have the sky as the main object and at the same time have the capability to attract a lot of tourists (from science centres fully integrated in the tourist offer of a specific city or location, to sky gazing activities in the tourist resorts all over the world). But here we also consider all those actions and projects, which can have a huge impact on tourist attraction capability, but which are not actually considered under this point of view.
Those projects with a high degree of innovation, or with scalable characteristics had priority
2) Intercultural aspects in astro-tourism
Under this topic we might consider tourists oriented projects, which place emphasis on the sky as the common roots for all Mankind or as a powerful leverage for different cultures integration. Those projects with an high degree of interdisciplinary (history, art, science…) had priority.
3) Inclusion in astro-tourism
Under this topic we might consider those actions (already existing or yet to be conceived), which can make astro-tourism experiences available to everyone (visual impaired, deaf, or other not only with physical disabilities but also, for example, with learning problems…