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Wine tourism is a strategic resource for Italy and intertwines two important drivers of the economy. Firstly, tourism which accounts for 13% of the gross domestic product, and the wine sector which weighs 6.2 billion euros in exports, with a turnover of 2.65 billion euros.
The estimated 15 million wine tourists who choose Italy as their destination account for 27% of the wineries’ turnover, as well as for 36% of the other activities of the territorial tourism chain. The sector is also important to support rural communities, with 42 million euros in total annual turnover.
This sector of tourism is often considered ‘rich’. This is for the simple reason that the average wine tourist is willing to spend over 120 euros a day for an experience in the world of wine. And this value is growing thanks to the attention of consumers who increasingly want to try quality products.
Moreover, 2020 has confirmed that a growing number of travelers, wine lovers, food and wine lovers and tourists from various backgrounds – choose the wine tourism experience.
This year, also given the Covid-19 restrictions, the sector has often been characterized as “reboot tourism”: tourism which is close, economically accessible, integrated with other cultural, gastronomic, naturalistic experiences, practicable outdoors and accessible to children.
In Lombardy, for example, the Vigneti Aperti project, promoted by the Lombardy Wine Tourism Movement, involved numerous Lombardy wineries, which received positive feedback. This is thanks to the new offers of services and experiences created specifically for Italian tourists, who have partly compensated for the lack of international tourism this year.
According to experts, wine tourism has now become a stable and significant part of the turnover of companies in the sector.
However, in contrast to the wine market, where wine can be sold individually by individual producers, tourism involves a collective heritage that forces an entire territory to collaborate and team up. This will lead to a radical change of vision on the part of producers, who currently see other producers in their territory as competitors and not as possible partners.
Now, according to experts in the sector, the priority is the preparation for the return of foreigners after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We will have to be ready to better welcome the many people who want to come to Italy. This summer, despite the limitations, it became evident how attractive the wine experience is and we must continue on this path,” said Carlo Pietrasanta, the president of the Lombardy Wine Tourism Movement.