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Since it was born thirty years ago, it has been the engine of development of the entire Italian tourism sector, today and in the near future wine tourism will help Italy to restart after the pandemic, with a long-awaited “strategic plan” , and which can now contain the indications and tools so that wine tourism can do its part in the difficult moment we are experiencing, transforming it into an opportunity. This was said – all in agreement – by the Ministers of the Draghi Government Dario Franceschini (Culture), Massimo Garavaglia (Tourism) and Stefano Patuanelli (Agricultural Policies), today in the Senate of the Republic in Rome, discussing with the authors of the book “Wine Tourism in Italy. History, legislation and best practices “, Senator Dario Stefàno, promoter of the law that regulated wine tourism for the first time in Italy (decree 12 March 2019), and Donatella Cinelli Colombini, founder of the Tourism Movement at the dawn of the nineties some wine. A phenomenon entirely made in Italy able to move, before Covid, 14 million people and a business of 2.5 billion euros per year in our country, which in 2020, according to the Enit-Agenzia Nazionale del Turismo, saw a decrease in the number of visitors of 46 % on 2019 for a total of 53 million fewer travelers with all that goes with it. “The important thing is to prepare for the tourist season, not to give it up – Premier Mario Draghi said in recent days – the tourist sites are booked by the Italians, but the foreigners are not there yet, we must announce that we are ready to welcome all the tourists who have a vaccination certificate “.
In wine tourism there is the past, present and future of our country, “having it regulated was a first important goal – explained Stefàno, president of the European Union Politics Commission of the Senate, in the meeting led by Federico Quaranta – but it was not easy to arrive at the result, because there was a lack of data and I was unable to demonstrate to the Ministry of Economy that the legislation would bring benefits to the country. I succeeded thanks to a statistical survey by the University of Salerno. The law still needs to be implemented by some Regions, but politics is gaining awareness of the role that wine tourism has in terms of restarting our country, and now we would like an observatory to be born as well.The other aspect is that, unlike other countries, we find it hard to express our identity pride that wine represents, and with our volume we would also like to persuade them to teach the history of wine in schools, transferring extraordinary skills and professionalism to the new generations so that it becomes an instrument of competitiveness “.
When wine tourism was born, thinking of wine as an engine of tourism was a pioneering idea. “Today the sector is among the most ready to become the engine of Italy’s rebirth after the pandemic – underlined Donatella Cinelli Colombini, historic producer in Tuscany and promoter of the” Cantine Aperte “- but the changes that have occurred must be taken into account, which are essentially the need for wineries to differentiate themselves in front of visitors who no longer ask for just visits and tastings but experiences and discoveries, many in the open air and in beautiful places, the increased role of internet connectivity and the new booking methods on the moment and in place (we have 30,000 wineries open to the public, but they cannot be reached because there is no signal in our territories), the change of target with a growth of women and of “wine tourists by chance”, the effects of a more accentuated environmental sensitivity than in the past. Forecasts for the immediate future? An Italian user for next summer, a gradual recovery of European users arriving by car, but, without regular flights, with the very strong lack of strategic markets such as the USA. To get an idea, the average daily expenditure of a foreign tourist before Covid was 80 euros, that of a wine tourist of 155 euros, with the presence of foreigners in famous territories such as Chianti Classico equal to 82%, Montalcino and the Val d’Orcia of 58% “.
This because wine is a cultural, historical and naturalistic treasure at the same time, ancient but capable of being a completely new driving force for the relaunch of tourism in Italy. “It is a beautiful Italian story that can be a reference for future challenges, capable of overcoming difficult moments in the past, giving rise to virtuous phenomena in a short time and achieving extraordinary results by focusing everything on quality – according to the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini – above all, awareness has been strengthened that it is part of the Italian identity, one of the strongest travel motivations with gastronomy, capable of immersing in Italian living with experiential tourism. And if perhaps there is no national awareness of all this, and it needs to be built, at the local level there is indeed. And we must focus on this to start again: on the Recovery we worked with the Minister of Tourism on investment proposals with important figures on the villages and the recovery of the farmhouses, so that they return to being places of culture, in which not only traditions are handed down but they tell each other “.
“But organization is needed – for the Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia – when the volume mentions the tourist as an “unfaithful lover” it means that we need to retain him, make him stay, make him stay. Italian food and wine is absolute excellence, it is obviously culture and agriculture, but we can no longer take anything for granted. We don’t have a strategic plan, and this is the opportunity. We start from existing laws, even from this manual, we organize what is already there and create what is not there, from signage to experiential tourism itineraries, putting everything together with the other Ministers, giving us objectives, measuring them and starting to run to overcome this great crisis that has put us all on the same level. And Italy has all the possibilities to run very fast and win the challenge. But there is little time ”.
“If in the past there was the creation of a country as we see it today, also born through wine – what would Montalcino be without Brunello, or Collio without the wines of my lands – and it has given us food and wine as a motivation tourism, in the present we must face a very difficult moment also for the wine sector and we must support producers – said Stefano Patuanelli, Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies – in the Supply Chain Fund there are 150 million euros of the Budget Law, in the Support Decree another 150 increasing, and a large part will have to go to the wine sector, in order not to risk losing the excellence of our territories. The future is research, development and innovation, and the digitization of the country passes through the infrastructure on which we must pass the services that companies need to satisfy an even more demanding tourism. The pandemic has been an incredible accelerator of perception of possibilities, but above all it has interrupted the phenomenon of the population moving towards megalopolises, and this can make us regain possession of inland areas, after which we can live and work at a distance and have the products of our land. We must reduce problems and enhance excellence “.
“Wine needs this kind of support. The presence of three Ministers demonstrates how they have in wine the greatest “collaborator” in their activity – said Riccardo Cotarella, president of Assoenologi and of the Union Internationale des Œnologues, author of the preface of the volume (Edagricole editions, November 2020, pp. 198, cover price 18.50 euros) – it is the most important emblem of Italian agriculture, but we still do not sufficiently value the importance that its unique heritage has for Italy, in terms of variety of territories and vines (over 600) which are more than “bell towers”. Nor do we communicate it in the best possible way, letting the fans touch it. Let’s imagine Tuscany without Chianti, or Montalcino without Brunello. But let’s also think of the Langhe without Nebbiolo or Conegliano and Valdobbiadene without Prosecco, both Unesco Heritage territories. Giving evidence to this potential means giving it to Italy. And in the moment of rebirth, wine will be the most important driving force, because it is the companion par excellence of the happiest moments of mankind “.

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Marco Ribaudo

Marco Ribaudo

For the love of food and wine! Marco Ribaudo, Certified Sommelier, with 25 years in the food and beverage industry now invites you to join him in his latest adventure, the opening of la Cucina del Vino to share his culture and passion for creating unforgettable memories around the table.

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