ENIT President Giorgio Palmucci speaks of a greener and slower tourism that will transform the tourist, albeit domestic, into a conscious traveler
Summer 2020 is upon us and Italy, like every year, is preparing to welcome thousands of food travelers on its streets, tourists who travel with a specific mission: to live discovering new food and wine experiences. This particular form of tourism, despite being a relatively recent proposal, has become one of the reasons for traveling in our country, the most widespread both nationally and internationally. Food & wine travelers are ready to populate Northern and Southern Italy, from large to small cities, even in this post lockdown phase of coronavirus. Giorgio Palmucci, president of ENIT – National Tourism Agency, tells us more about this form of tourism. He traces a balance on the present and the time to come.
The first interesting question, told by Palmucci, concerns how the experience of esotericism and gastronomy has profoundly influenced the habits of vacationers. Some of the new frontiers introduced by enogastronoimco tourism and its enthusiasts have favored “A greater knowledge of the territories, a new approach oriented towards sustainability and new tourist models”. A significant example is the increasingly frequent request by travelers for gastronomic itineraries, such as a visit to a winery, a farm as well as experience in transformation laboratories that maintain the traditional techniques of the place. “It is often the discovery of food and wine experiences that prolongs the travel experience. Through tastings of local products the visitor discovers the territory, the excellence and the typical features that make it not only palatable, unique. The Italy brand makes more and more proselytes with the authenticity of its made in Italy and the genuineness of flavors, traditions and rediscovered crafts, following the wishes of those who are attentive to the traceability of products and responsible management as well as the care of the environment and cultural heritage”. In a nutshell, a new way of involving tourists by making them participate in an experience in which “doing and not just watching” is at the center. An involvement that implies a semantic transformation from “tourist” to “traveler”. Another fundamental and unique aspect of food and wine tourism is linked to the human and social factor. “Through the holiday connected with food, moments of building relationships with travel companions and locals are created,” continues Palmucci.
According to data released by ENIT, Italy is experiencing a significant drop in bookings for summer 2020 of 81.4% (higher than that of our competitors such as France and Spain). On what we can expect in the coming months, the president has highlighted that the first signs of recovery will be communicated by the incidence of “domestic tourism”, ie the many Italian tourists who usually prefer to travel abroad (40% according to ENIT) , but that this year they will choose to stay at home. “The post coronavirus crisis – continues Palmucci – will be an opportunity to address the issue of sustainability and a new way of proposing and experiencing tourism: greener and slower”. A possibility, therefore, for many operators in the sector to raise the quality standards and those derived from innovation and the rules of environmental policies. In conclusion, “We are confident that everything will resume with more determination. It will be a challenge to renewal and repositioning with new energies on the markets “, explains Palmucci who offers concrete data on the restarting of Italian tourism: 300 thousand reservations as provisional data, but a recovery is expected (and hopefully).