International migration is increasingly characterised by transnational traits that create strong linkages between different places and cultures and that impact, in particular, the routes and spaces of urban migration. In 2010, from this observation, sprung the idea of promoting a form of responsible tourism at kilometre zero that envisages as its protagonists, fellow citizens of sometimes very different backgrounds.
The idea became reality when thanks to the programme “Agrobiodiversity, cultures and local development” financed by IFAD (The International Fund for Agricultural Development) and supported by Oxfam Italia and ACRA the first course for “intercultural companions” was held in Turin and supported by Viaggi Solidali, the tour operator for responsible tourism that had first developed the idea. Between 2010 and today in Turin, Milan, Florence and Rome, over 11,000 people, have taken part in these walks – mostly secondary schools students, but also curious citizens, tourists, local residents, groups and associations.
Given the success and level of interest in the first phase, and the replication of similar experiences in other Italian and European cities, Oxfam Italia, ACRA-CCS and Viaggi Solidali supported the development of a European network of Migrant Cities united by a single Migrantour. The project enables Italian and European citizens of old and new generations, tourists, students and the plain curious to discover, through the words of migrants, the many secrets – large and small – unknown to even born and bred locals.
The project “MygranTour: a European network of migrant driven intercultural routes to understand cultural diversity” was promoted by Fondazione ACRA-CCS, Viaggi Solidali, Oxfam Italia, Marco Polo, Bastina Voyages (France), Periferies del Mon (Spain), IMVF, Renovar a Mouraria (Portugal), Earth (Belgium) and co-financed by the European Union. In nine cities (Turin, Milan, Genoa, Florence, Rome, Marseille, Paris, Valencia and Lisbon) there will be training courses and research on multicultural neighbourhoods. New tours, workshops and walks for schools and citizens will be mapped out and communications campaigns carried out at local and international levels. There will be publications celebrating the stories and places within multicultural cities and a final conference in Brussels.
The objective is to support the integration of migrant citizens into the nine participating cities, building mutual comprehension and respect. The development of a European network is the means for scaling up the impact of the initiative and guaranteeing the the spread of good practice. You will find all the information on the project’s nine partner cities on this website. There is also a tenth box for “other cities” as we are counting on being able to extend the collaboration to other cities in Europe and the rest of the world! The idea of this project was also conceived as a way to give an added source of income for disadvantaged people, often from developing countries. The guides are not therefore meant to be licensed, professional tourist guides but rather intercultural companions, selected and trained to manage educational tours on intercultural themes.
From Mygrantour to Migrantour: My Gran Tour: the way each of us has of travelling in our own city, the places and routes that reinforce our sense of belonging to the place in which we live, that make us feel at home.
Migrant… Tour: The routes of migrants, walks accompanied by new citizens, that take us in discovery of intercultural and cosmopolitan neighbourhoods, uncovering stories and secret corners that not even born-and-bred locals know as well.
From Mygrantour to Migrantour: a change in one letter and yet in this small difference lies a long, fascinating and absorbing journey that has led us from the very first moment we imagined the path to today: we have come a long way. A simple name has become a logo that you will find in this virtual space alongside the names of cities and migrants. It will help you recognise the routes created and the people working daily to offer you the Migrantour urban intercultural walks.