What is a Borgo, and what is its effect on tourism?
A Borgo is a very charming Italian small village from the Renaissance or Medieval age. It is unique and built around a castle or a palace that belonged or still belongs to a noble family. It is generally surrounded by walls. In Italy, there are 260 “Borghi” spread from the north to the south. The “Borgo” is a symbol of Italian culture with artistic and architectural heritage, tradition, and enogastronomic treasures.
Ambassador and Professor Antonio Percario, President of Skal International Roma, said at the opening of Skal’s First Economic Forum in Rome: “Skal International Roma is the oldest association of tourism. It represents an associative organization of international importance and aims at positioning and re-launching tourism through an open method, and participates to strengthen our country’s attractiveness towards a unified and innovative vision of the promotion and marketing of our cultural heritage.”
The Executive Director of Enit, (the Italian Government Tourist Board), Mr. G. Bastianelli, said that the Borghi are places inhabited by hospitable people who give the traveler a unique experience – the authentic expression of historic tourism that is now a reality in the panorama of the incoming offer of the country. “We work on its improvement to make it even more attractive. We have launched several promotional campaigns dedicated to villages in some European capitals and a strong social promotion, through #italianvillages hashtags that produced over 70 million views and over 3 million visitors a year with [an] average 3 nights’ stay,” he said.
This agrees with the Director of the Borghi d’Italia Tour Network, Ms. Rosa Maria Musco, the exclusive tour operator of “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy,” who said: “Our packages are formulated with the priority of the aggregation of services and activities that can make a difference and affect more villages on a single territory involving the whole chain of tourism. The higher know how achieved allow[s] us now to better manage certain foreign markets starting from the demand and no more from the offer as in the past, which confirms the positive outcome of the promotion policy launched by Mibact (The Ministries of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism) led by Minister Dario Franceschini, during ‘The Year of the Villages’ that also contributed to the awakening of American tourists attracted by this product.”
An important support on marketing analysis was given by Lybra.tech. Mr. F. Giannetti, Director, recalled the importance and effectiveness of big data that allow companies to learn about habits, purchases, and visitor mobility by elaborating millions of data to better identify potential tourists interested in offering Borghi through travel habits and visits to every single market.
Ottavia Ricci, Councilor for Sustainable Tourism at the Mibact, announced: “By September, the State’s General of the Italian Villages will be convened, focusing on some strategic guidelines or themes such as accessibility, hospitality, and sustainability of this particular tourist offer. Obviously, this is an appointment to best manage an emerging tourist phenomenon that to remain authentic and usable must be sustainable, making visitors the main players in responsible tourism.”
The initiative to revitalize the villages, explained Mr. U. Forte, Director of “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy Club,” which includes 271 communes, is an association of small Italian towns of historical interest, founded in March 2001 on the initiative of the Tourism Council of the National Association of Italian Communes, with the aim of preserving and maintaining villages of quality heritage. The association holds initiatives such as festivals, exhibitions, fetes, conferences, and concerts that highlight the cultural, historical, gastronomic, and linguistic heritage, involving residents, schools, and local artists. This has arisen from the need to value the great heritage of history, art, culture, environment, and traditions present in the small Italian centers that are, for the most part, excluded from the flows of visitors and tourists. In fact, hundreds of small Italian villages are in danger of depopulation and consequent degradation due to a marginal situation with respect to the economic interests that gravitate around the tourist and commercial movement in the small Italian centers, which are for the great part, marginalized by the flows of visitors and tourists. The club seeks to ensure – through protection, recovery, and enhancement – the preservation of the heritage of monuments and memories that would otherwise be irretrievably lost.
We do not promise “paradises on Earth,” summed up Mr. Forte, but we want that … more and more people who come back to live in the small historic centers and the visitors who are interested to visit them, can find those atmospheres, odors, and flavors that make it the typical model of life that is worth tasting with all six senses.