Who are the new generations? What challenges does climate change pose for us? How to reconcile quality of life, business enterprise, and environmental protection? As we await the final event of the Dolomiti Paganella Future Lab, scheduled for 29 October, we asked some Altopiano della Paganella residents to give their own views about the 4 tough questions that underlie the project: the DNA of our holiday destination, new generations, climate change, and tourism in balance.
- Who is Simone Elmi?
I was born in Milan and regularly experienced this area as a tourist because my parents brought me here on holiday. Year by year I fell in love with these mountains and at the age of 20 I decided to move here. To make this possible I became an Alpine Guide and my work is taking people to explore this fabulous natural adventure park.
It is the best job in the world!
I try to use my enthusiasm to carry forward cultural initiatives linked to the mountains. One example is the Brenta Open project, when we take disabled youngsters up to high altitude. It is my contribution to making the mountains inclusive and within reach of everyone.
- What was your personal experience of the COVID-19 lockdown?
I live in a small community at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites and this allowed me to take some mountain excursions, which lightened the psychological effects of the lockdown. On the other hand, just like everyone else, it had a big financial impact, but I learned that any hardship can be overcome when faced constructively together with your family.
- Your job keeps you constantly immersed in nature. How has your everyday life changed with COVID-19?
During this period, I have been doing a lot of work in the house, like everyone, but I was still able to escape into nature because the forest and mountains are right outside my door. It also provided a very valuable period of introspection.
- You are one of the main contributors to the development of our holiday destination. Why is it so important to innovate in an area that is already very attractive?
Firstly, it is important to me because it is my own personal mission to contribute something to the place and the community. An example was the restoration of the “Falesia Dimenticata” (the “Forgotten Crag”), which is generating a series of positive spin-offs, like the establishment of businesses closely linked to it. Some young people have opened a small B&B, which without the traffic of tourists to the crag would unlikely to have been feasible. I like to think that with this project I prevented two young people from leaving for the big cities in search of fortune.
- As regards your work, how do you think it will be influenced by climate change?
We are experiencing climate change every day and it is something we will have to adapt to, because it cannot be resisted. I do not have any magic solutions, just the awareness that all of us, including myself, can make a difference even in small everyday gestures. For example, I have bought an electric car.
Listen to the fourth episode of the “FUTURO – La destinazione che sarà” podcast
The Altopiano della Paganella residents are not in doubt: we need to take advantage of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to conceive a new way of implementing tourism in our holiday resort. This was the view of 85% of the residents who took part in the community survey conducted by the Dolomiti Paganella Future Lab, with as many as 31% calling for a radical reconception of our tourist development model.
What has changed and is destined to change with COVID-19?
(Italian audio only)
#4 Pillola dal Futuro
‘Pillole dal Futuro’ is an editorial project created to guide the community to the final event on October 29, a way to keep the discussion alive on the 4 tough questions of the Future Lab through the voice of some relevant figures of our destination. The six ‘pills’ were delivered to the homes of all residents during the summer months.