Tourism is, by its nature, an international vocation. We travel. We visit distant countries. Lands and cities of the world are explored.

This is the story of travel and tourism, from the great explorers to the Grand Tour.

One would have expected that the Law of Tourism would also be born with this international vocation.

It was not so.

The reasons are many and complex. The youth of our discipline, the shyness of those who dealt with Tourism Law, and the low consideration of colleagues who taught classical subjects. But above all, the legacy and tradition of the aspects of Public and Administrative Law that characterised the first studies on tourism and hospitality, topics that were inextricably linked to national law. Public and Administrative law are national and not international. And, at that time, there was not much space for comparative law.

Indeed, some national conferences have been held in France, Spain, Italy and other European countries. However, international contacts between scholars were scarce.

This was the situation when many European scholars received the unexpected invitation to participate in a meeting in Lisbon at ESHTE in 2016.

The theme of the meeting was related to the European Directive on Package Travel. There was no doubt that the Directive would form the basis for a common European tourism law. An international meeting thus found a suitable justification. Many decided to participate.

It could have been a conference – important and innovative, yes, but – like so many others. But supporting the initiative was the vision and commitment of Raul Filipe, President of ESHTE, and Carlos Torres.

However, it was pleasant to discover that there were jurists from all over Europe who dealt with this new subject of ours. In the atmosphere of those days, we found ourselves a group, and it was pleasant. We were no longer alone.

It could have ended there.

What, in fact, was surprising was that the results of those days of studies, debates and confrontation found – thanks to the perseverance and patience of Carlos Torres, whom we soon called El Comandante – space and confirmation in a volume, The New Package Travel Directive.

It gave concrete form to our work and spread throughout Europe.

At that first meeting, others followed. UNWTO had proclaimed 2017 International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development. And here we are again in Lisbon to discuss the Law of sustainable tourism. And here we see the light of a new powerful volume: Sustainable Tourism Law.

Thus, was formed a group of scholars to whom we gave the name of “Lisbon Group”. A group that soon opened up to Latin America, as evidenced by the volume Derecho del Turismo en las Americas.

A few weeks after the borders were closed around the world due to the unexpected pandemic, in April 2020, a major online conference with colleagues from all over the world gave rise to the publication of the book titled Legal Impacts of COVID-19 in the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

In September 2020, the online conference model persisted, resulting in another publication covering, among others, Wine Tourism: Wine Law.

We are celebrating the 500 anniversary of the discovery of the Magellan strait with two online publications. On October 21, the launch of Derecho del Turismo en Las Américas brought together colleagues from all Latin American countries On the same day, the Collective Commentary about the New Package Travel Directive, with colleagues from the then 28 Member States.

More recently, Competition Law in Tourism and Tourism Law in Europe are publications demonstrating this group’s dynamism.

The pandemic has not broken the bonds that have united and unite us. Here we are again here in Lisbon, more numerous and more motivated than ever, to consecrate what will be the voice of our group: The new international journal of Tourism Law, The International Journal of Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Law,-Travel-and-Hospitality-Law2023/

Avv. Prof. Vincenzo Franceschelli