The 43rd edition of the Bit, International Tourism Exchange. Great satisfaction from the organizers who confirmed almost pre-pandemic numbers. Many buyers foreigners, especially North Americans. Susanne Mozel, of Omega National Travel (Canada), says: “North American customers know Italy very well. They are very demanding and look for special offers in small villages or off-the-beaten-path paths. A Bit I found truly unique offerings, like dining under a real vineyard or exploring the secret passages of a castle that the nobles used to move around without being noticed by their subjects. It is this kind of captivating experience that makes the difference”.
And food and wine is by now an established fact that is part of almost all travel experiences. The food and wine tourism is a candidate to represent in effect a form of cultural tourism through the conservation and enhancement of agricultural and wine-growing territories intended to outline the natural scenario, proposing a cultured way of traveling by associating the tasting of wines, typical products and sometimes dishes locals to visit wineries and agro-food companies and also museums.
Here I like to recall the Temple of Brunello in Montalcino and the Medici Museum in Florence, where, in addition to appreciating the history of the family, you can taste the bottles of the Medici lands.
This trend of merging art and food occurs not only in rural locations, but also in art City. According to Cst for Assoturismo Confesercenti, based on interviews with over 1,200 entrepreneurs carried out in the top 100 Italian cities of art, the recovery of tourism has been driven precisely by the latter, where visits have seen a clear acceleration. Between June and August there were tourists in our cities of art 27.4 million24.6% more than in the same period of the previous year, recording the most significant increase among all segments of the tourist offer, even higher than the overall average of the sector (up 14.3%).
To push the recovery of cultural tourism it was above all the foreign demand, with over 17.5 million presences (34.6% more than in 2021), followed by the Italian one, for a total of over 5.5 million admissions (up 10.2% compared to 2021). These are very positive numbers, even if still far from the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, when there were 44 million visitors to the cities of art.
According to the estimates elaborated by the study, the newfound vitality of the market is having positive effects on the whole country system. Between January and August 2022, cultural tourism should have generated 9.1 billion. There are around 196 million tourist presences in the summer quarter July-September 2022, 4.7% less than the pre-pandemic record figure of around 205 million reached in 2019.
Again according to Assoturismo, events, festivals and concerts take place today fundamental role in cultural and food and wine tourism. In fact, they offer tourists additional reasons to visit a destination beyond the cultural product regularly offered and give way to combine social, local and landscape values with the good gastronomy custodian of local culture. Usually, people who are dedicated to food and wine and cultural tourism have a medium-high social and economic level and are not only enthusiasts, but also consumers. Therefore I am one great economic resource and contribute to Italy’s GDP.
There is a but. Most of our cities with unique museums, good quality hotels, excellent businesses and quality commerce are disappointing under the aspect of urban quality: in Rome, Florence, Naples, Milan, Palermo and Turin the roads are dirtyuneven, poorly lit and with public transport inefficient. Speaking a few days ago with some French tourists visiting the museums of my city, Turin, I noticed a certain impatience with the uneven sidewalks soiled by dog droppings.
Local administrations that emphatically announce the exciting numbers of tourism, especially linked to events, should take account of this critical issue never addressed and resolved. The numbers of medium to high level travelers could bring great benefits. Also net of the premises and the popular tourismin fact, urban decorum is essential for both tourists and residents.
Another factor: the cultured tourist who comes to Italy wants to find the “genius loci”. Want to find restored monuments, but not tampered with by distorting interventions. He wishes to continue his experience at the Grand Tour, in hotels that recall the good life, for which operators in the sector should invest in buildings historians decommissioned from their functions, but evocative of eras, especially for North Americans, completely unknown.
The first nine months of 2022, as has already been highlighted, marked a strong recovery for the tourism sector, but the presence of customers in hospitality establishments is around 39 million less than in 2019 (-10.3%). Hotels with are selected strong historical connotations, but, compared to the potential demand, at least two thousand are missing. The recovery of the many abandoned state-owned buildings, with incentives for operators in the sector, would constitute a driving force for the major economy of the various superbonus and cheaper for the state. Many professionals would be set in motion, in addition to those in the building sector, to give Italy all its strength back beauty.