For the first time, Palermo hosted the Travelexpo-In, a showcase dedicated to incoming tourism and organized by Logos Comunicazione & Immagine. The event was held at the Hotel San Paolo Palace of Palermo, with the support of the Province of Palermo.
The regional and provincial capital of the island, Palermo was chosen by the organizers for its strategic position, historical and artistic richness, and easy access. It was a platform from which the strong message of a counter attack to recover the loss of business caused by the economic financial downturn could be conveyed officially to all concerned.
This was the leading theme that was addressed by the President of the Provincial Administration of Palermo, Mr. Giovanni Avanti, to an audience of representatives of tourism associations, tour operators, services suppliers, public agencies, and politicians, including Senator Nino Strano who also holds the title of District Councellor for Tourism, Transport, and Communication for the Sicilian Territory.
According to Mr. Avanti, Sicily needs to step into providing quality service – a long-awaited qualification. “We must react strongly to the loss of business starting with the re-launch of the destination adopting innovative solutions, focusing on the environmental and cultural resources, product differentiation, and seasonal adjustment of the tourism flow. The reaction must be aggressive,” said Mr. Avanti.
Statistics from official sources indicate that arrival figures in Sicily in 2008 were 20 percent below target, equal to 4.2 million tourists and the presence less 5.33 percent, around 13.6 million nights below target. This is in spite of the investment of 135 million euro in an advertising campaign that ran between 2001 and 2006. The Province of Palermo authorities, in full agreement with a recovery plan proposed by Logos (founder of Travelexpo-In), will include new ideas and planning quality and will produce a tourist plan, which covers to a large extent, a strategic plan for the provincial territory.
Four macro districts qualified for tourism and 11 segments connected to the peculiarities of the territory and the available resources to potentiate, have been spotted. They range from the environement to gastronomy, from thermal to sports tourism, and from cultural to rural. All these comply with the nerve center of the Sicilian tourism department.
The territory has been split into four main areas: Cefalù, together with Trabia and Terrasini – good incoming destination for sun and sea lovers, Palermo that records 55 percent arrivals and 37 percent presence, the Madonie with its record of accommodation particularly bed and breakfasts and holiday apartments and a srong market for excursions. Ustica, whose patronizers are mainly Sicilians, has ample space for improving the presence of international guests – so far they account for only 3 percent of the total tourist presence.
The reasoning available on the database indicates that the tourist areas to potentiate are those alternatives and niches with a strong potential for expansion.
Future editions of Travelexpo-In future will extend its activity to cover meetings, conventions, open forums, and study and training seminars, while keeping an eye on the future and evaluating, in particular, the innovative projects of tourism proposals produced by the young generation of students enrolled in the initiative, “The Showcase of the Projects,” La Vetrina dei Progetti) created by Mr. Toti Piscopo MD of Logos Srl. Communication & Image. This will be an ambitious initiative involving the Researchers Association on Tourism (ArTu) in collaboration with the Department for the Historical-Archeological Arts (government body), the Anthropological and Geographic sector of the University of Palermo, and the University Centre for Technologies for the promotion of Cultural Tourism.
The projects produced by the students will be selected by a special commission of operators and companies potentially interested in supporting the future development of tourism in Sicily.