Focus Discover Italy 2024

Tuscan momentum

F rom forecasts for the summer, to new foreign markets and the new regional law pending approval that should be ready in time for the end of summer, talking about developments in Tuscany is the tourism and economy councillor, Leonardo Marras.

Gv: What are the prospects for the summer season?

“We expect to finally recover our 2019 numbers. It’s a psychological and symbolic milestone, which we should achieve because in recent months the smooth flow of foreign tourism has consolidated without any difficulties. This trend should consolidate further with more significant arrivals from the east. There is a question mark regarding Italian tourism however, a component that cannot be ignored. I believe it’s important to give it the attention it deserves, as we have done with Sharing Tuscany.”

Gv: What about new foreign markets?

“It is interesting to consider Asia, an area that offers a series of nations that are growing and more willing to move, who probably don’t know Europe particularly well. Tuscany is undoubtedly an easier destination because it has a clearer international image. Then there’s the need to open up to South America, especially towards Brazil, which is a region that we will test thanks to the Turismo delle Radici project.”

Gv: What about the new regional law being approved?

“We expect to have it ready by the end of the summer season so that the transition lasts very little, and so that from 1 January 2025 we will have the new regulation available. Reading through the law, one big theme is data management. It identifies issues such as the tourist’s right to protection and conservation of their personal data, but also the correct management of this large flow of data that we can now obtain, and which help us to better target promotional actions by making the data available to operators. The public side of tourist governance has also been fixed, overcoming some mistakes that remained in the reform of the provinces. There is the issue of short-term rentals: we have adapted to national regulations, but we have also tried to introduce some governance tools because we mustn’t turn a blind eye to the social dynamics that affect historical centres, areas that are heavily affected by the phenomenon, with high tourist intensity. We are trying to do our best with what we have, in agreement with the municipalities, to manage this phenomenon and organise it with community participation.”

by Nicoletta Somma

 

Lucca, growth in incentive and weddings

Incentive travel and weddings: the DMC Piana di Lucca is becoming an interesting destination for these two market segments. “We are receiving numerous requests in this regard, with strong growth compared to the past,” says Remo Santini, councillor responsible for tourism, mobility, enhancement and protection of the urban walls of the municipality of Lucca, leader in the Piana di Lucca area. “Tourism operators in the area have overwhelmingly joined the official DMC of the Piana di Lucca, making it the most accredited representative with whom a foreign event organiser can interact to organise an event, a wedding or a tailor-made trip to the Lucchesia area.” In 2024, the underground passages of the Lucca walls were reopened, “and made accessible, visitable and exclusively bookable for private events.” The councillor mentions Montecarlo or Villa Basilica, “where we can organise cooking classes, tastings, grape and olive picking and private events.” As for the leisure sector, the trend is constant and evenly divided “between individual tourists and groups.” Foreign tourists come from “North America, Australia, India and Central-Northern Europe. A significant portion of tourism is Italian, although we would like to increase arrivals, especially individual ones,” the councillor says. Objectives on the foreign front are aimed at “consolidating visitors from Northern Europe and North America, without forgetting South America and rapidly expanding India.”

Slow holidays and events

Participation in Discover Italy is driven by the fact that the city of Lucca and the surrounding Lucchesia area are still relatively unknown “compared to other destinations in Tuscany,” explains the councillor. “Leisure, incentive or wedding tourists must be informed that we are strategically positioned about 30 minutes from Pisa and Florence airports.” The offer is supported by diversified tourist accommodation facilities, “small family-run establishments, charming hotels with spas and gourmet restaurants, and medium and large-sized structures suitable for groups.” The aim is to convey to operators the “area’s flexible soul: here you can organise incentives and luxurious weddings, but also slow family holidays in contact with nature.”

by Stefania Vicini

 

Livorno: the hidden Tuscany

T he 2024 edition of Discover Italy marks the first appearance for the tourist area of Livorno, one of the 28 Tuscan divisions. In addition to Livorno itself, this includes the municipalities of Capraia Isola and Collesalvetti. “Through the L.E.M Foundation – Livorno Euro Mediterranea, the destination management organisation (DMO) for the area,” explains Rocco Garufo, councillor for tourism and commerce, “we will accompany to Sestri Levante two local companies who produce tourist products and experiences most suitable for our destination. These are the Livorno Aquarium, as a reference for urban tourism/city breaks, and the Bellavista Insuese Estate in the municipality of Collesalvetti, for wellbeing, nature, and food and wine tourism.”

Development strategy

Livorno is a destination that has begun to organise itself in recent years. “Participation in sector fairs in relation to Toscana Promozione Turistica (Tuscany Tourist Promotion) is an important step for the development of the area,” emphasises the councillor. “Livorno is a relatively new and growing destination, but it doesn’t have a well-established position in the tourist market yet. On the other hand, it is precisely this novelty aspect and how it presents itself as a ‘different’ Tuscany that characterises its added value. Not surprisingly, our slogan is, ‘Livorno, the Tuscany you don’t expect.’ Tourism development policies implemented in recent years have seen a steady increase in tourist arrivals,” Garufo continues. “In 2023, we recorded +11% compared to 2022 and +39% compared to 2019. We have high expectations for the upcoming summer, linked to the attractiveness of events such as Effetto Venezia or the Mascagni Festival dedicated to the Livornese composer, Pietro Mascagni. But we’re also working to extend the tourist season, especially since the climate allows us to comfortably reach October.”

The marketing plan

In addition to this, “we expect to begin reaping the benefits of the tourism development and marketing plan launched at the end of last December,” explains the councillor. “We are implementing targeted actions to launch the destination’s image and develop the product strategy for the 2023-2026 period. The document was developed over more than eight months of work and is the result of a participatory process involving stakeholders, administrations and operators from the three municipalities of the area. The goal we have set ourselves is to structure and position Livorno and its three municipalities in the national and international tourist market, strengthening the initiatives and excellent performances already achieved in recent years, so it is perceived as a unique, genuine, Mediterranean, creative, fun destination with a remarkable gastronomic, historical, cultural and natural heritage.”

by Nicoletta Somma

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