What will happen to wine tourism in Italy?

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Between new protocols and digitalization of cellars, together with Nicola d’Auria, National President of the Wine Tourism Movement, we take stock of the situation

14 million accesses, including excursions and overnight stays, and a turnover of 2.5 billion euros.  These are the numbers of Wine tourism in Italy in the pre-covid-19 era.  To better understand the situation in one of the sectors most affected by the current state of emergency, we interviewed Nicola D’Auria, national president of the Wine Tourism Movement.  This is a non-profit association that groups around 1000 of the most prestigious wineries in Italy, selected on the basis of the quality of the wine tourism reception.  During the interview, the president illustrated the panorama of wine tourism in Italy “violently affected by the coronavirus emergency – as he himself says – In the production world there is great concern and fear of another lockdown that obviously we could not bear.  But I must say there is also a lot of desire and determination;  the peasant world is a world that fights, it is a world accustomed to suffering in silence, to roll up our sleeves and start again.  So there is a great desire to get back into the game and re-take off trying to get tourists back. “

 About half of the wine tourism in Italy was made up of foreigners and, of course, given the impossibility of bringing tourists in the short term, it will be necessary to focus on the territory.  The president said that the regions most affected by the lack of visits will be: Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto and Friuli, which had a large portion of the foreign public.  Regarding the size of the damage in economic terms and the repercussions for the cellars, the president said that for now the consequences are indecipherable.  Furthermore, he estimates that there is currently more than a billion euros in losses.  In 2019, the sector reported a turnover of around 2.5 billion euros, while in 2020, the turnover will be halved at best.  As for the prospects for recovery, the president said that the Wine Tourism Movement can be the right start for the entire tourism sector: it is a reception made especially outdoors and designed for small groups.  “We were the ones who invented wine tourism 27 years ago, and the time has come to reinvent ourselves and establish new protocols in the cellar.  In this regard, we have created a sharing table with Professor Roberta Garibaldi that groups both producers and trade associations such as the wine tourism sector all over the world, to try to give us rules and find the best way to manage this  recovery and share new guidelines with institutions ”.  An interesting phenomenon of the last few weeks concerns wineries and their rapid process of “digitization” in order to be able to cope with the situation.  In fact, those who were not yet online among these realities, proceeded to create their own e-commerce and at the same time the Wine Tourism Movement is working on a project to create the marketplace of their association.  “In this stand-by period of wine tourism activities, we continued to work to plan what the future of our sector will be, taking care of digital activities on the web, the collection and study of data from the recent past, so as to have new impetus  for future activities, once the emergency has passed ”.

 Finally, the president showed optimism and confidence about next autumn and even spoke of August, the month from which he hopes the events in the cellar will resume: for example, Cantine Aperte in Vendemmia and Cantine Aperte in San Martino.  Just think of the latest edition of Cantine Aperte, one of the most anticipated annual events for wine tourists, which this year in home edition format, for the first time in 27 years.  This too is a sign of change.

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