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Tourism, almost in 10 million trips related to food and wine

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Tourism, almost in 10 million trips related to food and wine

It has all the credentials to become another pillar of the Italian tourism industry. It is food and wine that interests, fascinates and conquers many Italian and foreign tourists after guided tours to discover the many deposits of good food and good drink that Italy offers. There are almost 10 million, about 9.6 to be precise, the Italians who this year have already made or will make a trip related to food and wine while in the old continent, according to a study by the European Travel Commission, there are about 21.8 million people interested in a journey in which food, wine, local specialties and natural landscapes play a leading role. In addition, around 5.5 million Europeans have declared that they want to travel with food and wine as their primary motivation. These are the numbers that Roberta Garibaldi, professor of Tourism Management at the University of Bergamo, president of the Italian Food and Wine Tourism Association and vice-president of the OECD Tourism Commission presented on the occasion of the presentation of the sixth edition of the «Report on food and wine tourism Italian» created with the support of Unicredit, Visit Emilia, Valdichiana Living and Smartbox, the patronage of Cultura Italiae, Federturismo, Qualivita Foundation, Ismea-Institute of services for the agricultural food market, Iter Vitis Les Chemins de la vigne en Europe and Touring Club Italiano, and the collaboration of TheFork and Tripadvisor.

Hunting for experiences

The report highlights the high participation in unique experiences such as those that can be tried in a restaurant or in discovering the production cycles of a cheese or a PDO specialty. «Despite the crisis, about 1 in 3 Italian tourists declare that they have a budget greater than 2022 to devote to the purchase of food and wine proposals. The high interest of tourists, the excellent offer of our country, the expected growth for tourism in the coming years give us an incredible trio of axes for the near future – explains Roberta Garibaldi -. The challenge today is to transform it into poker, working on the factors to explode the potential. There is a large gap between interest in experiences and effective use, all regions boast a richness that can be further exploited». The demand is there and it’s time to work, to develop a quality offer capable of organizing and bringing these unique experiences to life. This construction site needs new professional figures such as hospitality managers employed in wineries and farms as well as expert tourist guides of the territory but also of agriculture and agri-food processes. Guides able to explain and enhance the Italian culinary heritage as well as the work of the artisans of taste. “Food and wine tourism reduces overtourism and imbalances, helps to maintain traditional activities in small villages and rural areas, brings additional income to producers by stimulating them to actively protect the landscape, which is one of the main drivers of choice for tourists” he recalls the teacher.

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A tourist who aspires to visit the production sites with the combined visit, tastings and purchases that increase the producers’ income. This is the case in Scottish distilleries, in the cellars of Napa Valley in California, in the wine regions of France, Austria and Germany. «The emergence of diversified leisure experiences in rural areas and in close contact with nature, such as walking and cycling tours, wellness activities, and which are capable of going beyond clichés – remarked Roberta Garibaldi – should be encouraged. This process must be accompanied by innovative and differentiated communication by target, to satisfy the thirst for information that characterizes the traveler both before and during the experience». For its part, the peninsula offers everything: from history to art, from IGP and DOCG specialties to Unesco sites. Suffice it to mention, for example, the prosecco hills of Conegliano Veneto and Valdobbiadene or the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato. For this we need an organic plan for food and wine tourism, chosen by a high-spending client which also helps to adjust flows and lengthen the seasons by involving all the protagonists of the supply chain: tour operators and territories, production companies and artisans, museums, restaurants typical and cellars. Valdichianaliving, for example, is a tour operator that has built an offer of 360-degree experiences linked to the territory, from producing ricotta on the farm to the olive harvest, from truffle hunting to the sport of bike tours to finish with the discovery of the remains Etruscan. Just think of how many IGP, DOC and local specialties that Italy offers to grasp the potential of this trend to offer to tourists.

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