Puglia: Promoting tourism through culture

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Apulia is a model of cultural planning, and 400 million euros in 10 years have been dedicated to “PiiiL Culture” (Prodotto Identita Innovazione Impresa Lavoro) – Product, Identity, Innovation, Enterprise, and Work. This is new model of economic development based on culture which is the aim of the Puglia region. It was presented at the Strategic Plan of Culture under the second edition of the Manifesto “All Routes Lead to Rome,” the official event of the World Tourism Year for Development, proclaimed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

With an investment of 400 million euros for ten years (2017-2016), Puglia decided to focus on culture. It is a 200-page plan that aims to develop a cultural product capable of generating work and hoping for the full involvement of productive communities.

During the workshop, “Towards the Economy of Happiness – PiiiL Cultura in Puglia,” held at the Palazzo Massimo Conference Hall that was crowded with people, Puglia emerged as the first region in Italy to have drafted a 10-year strategic plan of culture.

“Valorizing the identity of Puglia,” emphasized Loredana Capone, Councilor of Tourism and Culture Industry of the Puglia region, in a video interview, “is also crucial to give a working perspective to our young people.”

“Apulia has shown that one can invest a very high figure only in culture,” explained Aldo Patruno, Director of the Tourism Department, Culture Economy of the Puglia Region. “The challenge we face is very difficult, but we all move towards a quality cultural development, a system that goes to a single direction and aims to valorize of the cultural heritage.”

A long-term planning and development tool, “PiiiL Cultura” is inspired by “5 Ms” of the territory: Mediterranean, Mondo (World), Mother, Mezzogiorno, and Mare (Sea), with the intention of internationalizing its beauties and building its specificity from some issues on which the region is particularly sensitive. It is aimed at the product, which must be of quality; at work, because without good employment there is no economy of culture; to the valorization of identity; to the business culture; and to be able to realize product and process innovation.

“For Puglia, Public Theater is a great satisfaction,” commented Carmelo Grassi, President of Teatro Pubblico Pugliese. “The plan is not a simple programming document, but it is a shared choice on the future.”

During the morning session, Claudio Bocci, Director of Federculture, introduced a roundtable on “Strategic planning in the cultural field,” during which the main objectives of the plan were analyzed, including multi-year planning, a key element of the project; spending and content qualification; public training; constant monitoring of culture; and building a single regional regulatory system.

“Apulia is one of those few regions,” said Claudio Bocci, “who have well understood the importance of culture as a constituent element of the development of a territory. Culture is an area of welfare, it is food for the soul, and if it is integrated in an integrated and participatory development plan, it can create great opportunities. A system that moves in one direction towards the birth of a cultural entrepreneurship.”

“The plan is a concrete tool for economic development,” said Paolo Ponzio, Coordinator of the Regional Strategic Plan for Culture. At Apulia, businesses that are living in a cultural economy are emerging, encouraging regional tourism, and allowing the seasonalization of tourism as a tool of the transmission of culture.”

In the afternoon session, several speakers spoke of the program’s details of the plan and some regional announcements of competition were illustrated and the priority action work in progress was analyzed.

The five PiiiL themes (breakdown of the acronym):

Prodotto (Product): Build in a quality the cultural product
Identita (Identity): Rooted, authentic half-caste, open, plural
Innovazione (Innovation): Of product and process
Impresa (Enterprise): From volunteering to a new business culture
Lavoro (Work): Without good employment, there is no economy of culture