Inclusive and Sustainable Tourism Gamification
in School Education

Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in recent decades and is considered a major contributor to job creation, economic development, environmental protection and poverty alleviation.


However, the increasing number of people traveling internationally and domestically each year also creates pressures in terms of gas emissions, economic losses, resource management and impacts on local communities and cultural heritage. Therefore, the positive contribution of tourism to sustainable development and the mitigation of its negative effects requires decisive action by all stakeholders. 

Indeed, tourism can and must play a significant role in providing sustainable solutions for people and the planet. Affirming its role in generating prosperity, improving livelihoods and preserving the environment, the sector is today considered fundamental to the sustainable development of countries.



In this case we therefore speak of Ecotourism, which can be defined as:

"Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, responding to the needs of visitors, economic, social and environmental impacts, responding to the needs of visitors, industry, the environment and host communities."

This is the main topic of the Erasmus project Inclusive and Sustainable Tourism Gamification in School Education, in collaboration with several European partners, whose aim is to promote the teaching of ecological behaviour through gamification.

This project is aimed at high school students (mainly from hotel schools), who represent the next generation of employees and managers in the HoReCa sectors.

However, ecotourism is not limited to environmental sustainability: one of the objectives of the project is to promote the accessibility of people with disabilities to tourist facilities, both as customers and employees.

Accessibility, i.e. the absence of architectural, cultural and sensory barriers, is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of the world's tourism heritage.

Accessibility means that people with motor, sensory and intellectual disabilities can enjoy the tourist offer completely and independently, receiving services at the same quality level as other users without increasing the price.

Accessibility is no longer seen "only" as an act of solidarity, but above all as an opportunity to have modern, inclusive and non-discriminatory tourism experiences



For this reason, the Erasmus project Inclusive and Sustainable Tourism Gamification in School Education has included the creation of three distinct outputs: a practical guide for ecological and inclusive tourism for school teachers, a game simulating the management of a tourist facility, and finally some guidelines addressed to hotel schools.

But let's take a closer look at them!

The Practical Guide for Ecological and Inclusive Tourism for School Teachers

The guide is a handbook of about 300 pages, translated into eight languages: English, Italian, Bulgarian, Turkish, French, Romanian, Greek and Spanish.


The handbook aims to encourage ecotourism by showing the strategies to be adopted to promote sustainable tourism from several points of view. 

Indeed, making tourism more sustainable means taking several aspects into account, such as the environmental, cultural, economic and social aspects. 

The handbook explores several topics revolving around ecotourism, including nutrition, inclusive tourism activities, hiring workers with disabilities and promoting sustainable behaviour among staff members

In particular, the use of gamification and digital tools to promote sustainable behaviour in the tourism sector is also addressed. 

In the context of a sustainable tourism sector, gamification can be a conduit between tourists, organisations and the community and an interface built in a responsible and ethical manner. 

Many studies have shown that gamification is a persuasive strategy that uses game-play mechanisms (such as points, goals, badges, levels, story/theme) as features that change user behaviour.

According to the UNWTO, game-play mechanisms have the ability to create positive experiences in tourism - fun, pleasure, sense of achievement - and to provide tourists with both entertainment and information. Gamified mechanics encourage tourists to use digital platforms by generating content or motivating them through badges and points.

However, gamification can also be used in the training strategy of the next generation of HoReCa employees by introducing an element of engagement in learning. 

The best results in terms of improving sustainability were found in the case of gamification tools for employee training. Through gamification, the training environment becomes more engaging.


Ecotourism Game

This is in fact the objective of Ecotourism Game, a management game in which the user has the opportunity to manage a hotel and deal with issues concerning hospitality, inclusiveness and environmental sustainability.


But let's find out together how the game works! 

The user has a limited amount of currency to buy hotel expansions, but that's not enough: every extension has consequences! 

In some cases, certain improvements to the facility reduce the hotel's environmental impact or the customer satisfaction, or will cause the exact opposite: the goal is to run a facility with a low environmental impact while maintaining high guest satisfaction

However, some unexpected events can change everything!

The user will be faced with certain situations that can affect the environmental impact and customer satisfaction: some unexpected events can force a choice.

Try it out!

You can find it on Google Play and App Store!



School Guidelines

Similar to the handbook, this document, translated into eight languages, provides schools and therefore students with some practical guidelines on the promotion of sustainable tourism

It takes an in-depth look at the programmes for promoting sustainable and inclusive tourism taught in hotel schools, regions and European countries, and then delves into good practices and policies that favour this type of tourism, together with techniques for digitizing training in this area.


By adopting the results of the project, school students will have the opportunity to learn effective strategies for implementing ecological tourism or ecotourism.

Students will thus be more aware of the importance of European policies concerning sustainability.

ERASMUS + Cooperation partnerships in school education