Implementation of “Enjoying Holidays Sustainably” (SOI-HR-365)

Author: Inja Dorić Horvat, Geography Teacher

School/Organization: II. gimnazija Osijek

The learning scenario ‘Enjoying Holidays Sustainably’ created by Melanie Cini was used in Geography class to teach about sustainable tourism to 3rd year graders in a secondary school in Osijek, Croatia. It was a perfect fit for our main topic of sustainable development, as an example of responsible use of resources in the tourism sector, which is crucial for the economy of our country.


I like to combine the teaching of Geography with the outcomes of Civic Education, Information and Communications Technology, Sustainable Development, and Entrepreneurship. During two Geography lessons, my students (age 16 – 17) had the opportunity to develop skills in responsible behavior in the community, search the Europeana collection independently, think about the negative effects of tourism and design a sustainable tourist itinerary.

The learning scenario ‘Enjoying Holidays Sustainably’ is designed for 5 – 6 teaching hours, but it has been shortened and adjusted for 2 teaching hours. That is because our curriculum does not allow us more time to dig deeper into this subject. Nevertheless, I believe the students got a good overview of the topic and experienced an interesting class. Importantly, they learned what Europeana is and ​​how to use it for different subjects, research, and projects.

In the original scenario, much more online teaching material is used (YouTube videos, articles on sustainable fishing and the protection of seabirds and their habitats), and several articles from Europeana that I did not use (Small town Europe: the heritage of seven settlements across Europe, Agriturismo in Italy: Holidays that preserve rural communities).

Both the original scenario and the implementation story use groupwork, discussion, comparing old and recent photos, creating posters. But my students did not learn about the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or write reports and open letters.

Step by step

Introduction – Why do people travel? (20’)

We began the class by presenting the Europeana platform to the students, its functionalities, and possibilities of use for today’s class and future projects and research. 

As an introduction to the topic, students answered the question “Why do people travel?” using Mentimeter application. We analyzed their brainstorming, and we concluded that most people travel for fun and pleasure. It is also the definition of tourism, the act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure (Walton, John K. “tourism”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 5 Apr. 2023, Accessed 20 April 2023.).

Next, we started talking about tourism. We used photos from Europeana gallery Summer holidays in the past to discuss which forms of tourism we prefer and what their advantages and disadvantages are. We also discussed which conditions are important for the development of tourism, when tourism started to develop, and when it became a mass phenomenon.

Mentimeter results, Photo by Inja Dorić Horvat, CC BY.

The main part – Pros and cons of tourism (50’)

During the main part of the class, students were divided into 4 groups (4 – 5 members per group). Each group received one article from Europeana to read and discuss:

Travelling for pleasure: a brief history of tourism

Sustainability and Tourism

Ecotourism in Europe: A look at four countries’ green activities

The Human Factor: The hazards of tourism

Representatives of each group presented what they have read, and the class discussed the development of tourism, the impact of tourism on the environment, sustainable tourism, and examples of good practice of ecotourism in Europe.

Working with Europeana resources, Photo by Inja Dorić Horvat, CC BY.

To sum it up – Is Croatian tourism ‘green’? (20’)

Students worked in pairs, and their task was to find photos of Croatian tourist destinations in the past using Europeana as a resource. After that, they tried to find a present-day photo of the same location and see how much mass tourism has affected the area. Students compared the past and the present, listed the negative consequences of tourism, and tried to come up with a more sustainable way of using space. 

Abbazia (Opatija). Hotel und Pension Speranza mit DampfschiffDeutsche Fotothek, Germany – Public Domain

Centrál Hotel – képeslap, Eszék, Magyar Kereskedelmi és Vendéglátóipari Múzeum, Hungary, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Using Canva, students created a poster that shows Croatian tourist destinations in the past and today. They present it to the class, and, through discussion, they designed a more sustainable way of visiting the same destination.

Example of a Canva poster, Photo by Inja Dorić Horvat, CC BY.

What the students achieve?

By implementing the learning scenario ‘Enjoying Holidays Sustainably’ students get to analyze the importance of sustainable development using examples from their region and country. They also explain the importance of the sustainable development of tourism from the aspect of the capacity of the natural base. 

Students achieve Geography curriculum outcomes, learn how to independently search the Europeana collection, how to be responsible citizens and design a sustainable tourist itinerary. They work in groups and in pairs, cooperate with their peers and get to be creative. 

The reaction of the class to this learning scenario was very good. They were interested in the topic and surprised when researching the history of tourism development in their homeland.

The learning scenario is very adaptable and can be used in the intended longer form of 5, 6 hours or abbreviated, with an emphasis on certain selected outcomes, as I did.

Why teach with Europeana?

While preparing and browsing Europeana platform I got the chance to explore its rich collections and I was motivated and inspired for some other lessons and projects. 

I must admit that at times I was overwhelmed by the amount of data and available materials. That’s why it is necessary to have enough time to search the platform and get to know it well. And when the platform is presented to the students, it is important to show them how to successfully filter the data to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. 

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Enjoying Holidays Sustainably created by Melanie Cini

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC0 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Finnish National Gallery.

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