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TRAVELS AND FLAVOURS

Food and wine tourism, Italy leader. 71% of travellers looking for taste experiences

The highlights of the “Report on Italian Food and Wine Tourism” 2020 by Roberta Garibaldi. With the case history of Friuli Venezia Giulia

Food and wine tourism is increasingly important for travelers around the world, and Italy is at the top in Europe in many ways related to a type of experiential tourism that young people love. These are the highlights of the 2020 edition of the “Report on Italian Food and Wine Tourism”, edited by Roberta Garibaldi under the aegis of the World Food Travel Association and the Italian Food and Wine Tourism Association, presented in Milan. From which emerges an increasingly central role of food and wine in tourism: want to enjoy memorable food and wine experiences, while 59% of tourists say that themed experiences help them choose between several destinations. 53% of tourists in the world declare to be “food and wine tourists”, with percentages ranging from 81% of Chinese to 42% of British people. 
“The interest of tourists towards food and wine in Western countries is increasing, and there is strong growth in food and wine tourists in China and Mexico - says Roberta Garibaldi - from 2016 there is an increase of +12% and +10% respectively. The total number of those who said they have made at least one trip with this motivation in the last two years at an international level is 53%. The Millennials are leading the trend between generations, while the new “super foodies”, the born of Generation Z: frequent travelers who already show a high interest in food”. A trend is driven by more and more “omnivorous” tourists, who are those who want to enjoy enriching experiences while traveling. Regional food and wine specialities, already multisensory, emotional and cultural in itself, best meets their needs. Other activities are more likely to be combined with food and wine experiences than generalist tourists, such as shopping (85% against 68% of generalist tourists) or music festivals (66% vs 45%). But there are more popular experiences than others: the “food trucks”, and in general street food is more popular, as well as visits to restaurants and historic bars, and historic homes place of food production companies, visits to extra wine producers, and finally cooking classes. “Pizza emerges as a driving product for our country, and also treasuring the UNESCO recognition should become an asset on which to focus more strongly for tourism.
Wineries are always interesting, but the offer must evolve towards a more distinctive segmentation and positioning - concludes Roberta Garibaldi”.

Again, the comparison with the major European competitors shows a positive picture, with Italy at the top in seven of the indicators considered: excellent products, wineries, oil companies, catering companies, taste museums, breweries and Unesco Creative Cities linked to food and wine (Parma, Alba, and Bergamo).
In general, it is food and wine that characterize us most, even abroad: gorgonzola and pizza are the Italian products with Geographical Indication most sought after on the web between 2017 and 2019. Among the trend topics on the Internet between November 2019 and January 2020 for users in the United States, China, France, Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom are typical products and dishes, including, in addition to pizza, arancini, ossobuco, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano; among the wine productions, “Sparkling wine”, wines from Alto Adige and Chianti (Semrush data). In the varied Italian panorama, emerges from the report, some Regions excel in terms of the offer. Emilia-Romagna is the region with the highest number of agricultural and food products with Geographical Indication, Piedmont holds the same record for wines, Campania for Traditional Agricultural and Food Products. Lombardy, on the other hand, boasts the primacy in the restaurant offer, both in terms of businesses and of restaurants of excellence indicated in the main guides (the “Guida Michelin Italia”, the Espresso guide “I Ristoranti e i Vini d’Italia”, the Gambero Rosso guide “Ristoranti d’Italia”), as well as counting the largest number of microbreweries and brewpubs in Italy. Tuscany is the first Italian region in terms of the number of farmhouses, both in absolute terms and for the different types of services offered - catering, accommodation, tastings and educational farm experiences, mountain biking, trekking, sports, etc. Analyzing the trend of the last three years, the Centre-Southern is the most dynamic macro-area, with the largest increases in the offer. Among the case histories presented, also that of Strada del Vino e dei Sapori of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the only one in Italy that is the result of a regional director, edited by PromoTurismoFvg, agency of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region. The region was the first in Italy to “issue a law (number 22 of 2015) to network the resources of the agri-food industry with the cultural and environmental ones and build a cross-cutting product that allows wine tourists to get in touch with wineries, farms, restaurants, and many other territorial resources, creating a tailor-made itinerary that meets their expectations. The Strada del Vino e dei Sapori of Friuli Venezia Giulia has as its focus to combine wine production (eight Doc, Carso, Friuli Colli Orientali, Collio, Friuli Annia, Friuli Aquileia, Friuli Grave, Friuli Isonzo, Friuli Latisana, three Docg, Picolit, Ramandolo and Rosazzo, and two interregional Doc, Lison Pramaggiore and Prosecco, for 1.700 companies that produce 80 million bottles a year, 90% PDO, on an area of more than 20,000 hectares) and agri-food products of excellence with high standards of hospitality, at the same time offering visits to historical, architectural and naturalistic beauties”. A road that is the engine of a Region that has grown so much in terms of wine tourism was chosen as the venue for the International Wine Tourism Conference, in Trieste, from 24 to 26 March 2020. “An important event, like today’s, because we need to know the needs of our wine tourists, and possibly anticipate them to always improve”, said Bruno Bertero, marketing director PromoTurismoFvg. A positive picture, therefore, the Italian one, but one that can still improve. Analyzing the European context, it emerges again from the report that direct competitors have an added value in valorization, through organic development and promotion actions undertaken at a national level. In Italy, for example, there are information gaps both in the official website and in the regional portals. A confirmation of this comes from the direct analysis conducted on international tour operators, who consider the quality of the offer and experiences on the subject of food and wine to be good or excellent, while the information is less easy to find and book.

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