World Tourism Event for World Heritage Sites Concludes in Rome
Hope for travel marts resumption
The World Tourism Event (WTE) for World Heritage Sites took place in Rome, Italy, from September 24-26, 2020 bringing hope for a resumption of travel marts with physical encounters after the long lockdown.
The venue was the former Gil (Italian Youth of the Littorio), a historic Fascist-era palace with rationalist forms. Its design began in 1933 and it was inaugurated in 1937 in the middle of the Fascist era by the architect, Moretti. Of the fascism, it preserves the inscriptions engraved on marble that praises the mottos of Benito Mussolini.
The inauguration of the World Tourism Event took place in the presence of the Regional Tourism Councilor of the Lazio Region, Giovanna Pugliese, and of the head of the cabinet of the President of the Lazio Region, Albino Ruberti. To perform the inaugural honors was the director of the show, Marco Citerbo.
About 20 exhibition stands participated in the event, both online and live, including foreign stands from Thailand, Gran Canaria, and, for the first time, Guatemala (all attended by local staff). Participants met with 100 Italian seller operators, accommodation facilities representatives, wedding planners, and travel agencies. There were 15 buyers from Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Holland, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Spain, the United States, and Switzerland, along with about 500 online meetings via the innovative formula of videocall mode.
The one-to-one meetings between supply and demand from the tourism and cultural world were held through the Smart Like Event digital platform created by the Matching & Digital Partner of the event, Uplink Web Agency. The tour operators enrolled in the event have shown a high interest in all the preparatory stages of the event and a strong appreciation for the new way of conducting one-to-one meetings.
From the Profiling Session, the optimization phase of each profile, to the Like Session, the phase dedicated to the expression of preferences (Like) on the players during one-to-one meetings, sellers and buyers have been very active.
With 2,000 Likes expressed by operators, it was thus possible to collect good results in the matchmaking phase with over 60% of perfect matching and an overall satisfaction of 94.2%.The opening session on Thursday, September 24, was followed by 19 live and streaming presentations from various regions and institutions.
Fiavet (Italian Federetation of Travel Agents)
New promises of concrete commitments for the travel agency sector came from Alessio Villarosa, Under Secretary of State for the Economy, during the Fiavet National Assembly, which claimed some actions of the government and declared, “The government has spent 100 billion euros to help everyone, but it must be admitted that tourism is one of the most affected categories, and that even today it suffers from the lack of foreign tourists.” And he declared his commitment to act as an intermediary with the executive to overcome this crisis together.
The Undersecretary of State for Tourism at the Mibact, Lorenza Bonaccorsi, explained to the Fiavet associates gathered in the assembly: “The path taken to build a fund provides for a lean mechanism. We also defend the holiday bonus as an incentive to consume by ensuring a study for the use of the residual fund, including agencies asking to be constructive in the Recovery Plan as it was in the emergency.
“It has, therefore, returned to propose a new tourism model for Italy. And when it starts again, everyone will be running while we are ahead of other countries thanks to our formula for facing COVID. Our binomial is inevitably between culture and tourism, and on this, the offer must be based, which must take into account, even for agencies, digital, and technology, a model that distribution has often pursued, while it is necessary instead a strategic vision of the future.”
Furthermore, according to Mibact, overtourism is no longer a problem, but the solutions that were undertaken to combat it were presented: slow tourism, in small villages, is for travel agencies a possibility of development within their own territory. In commenting on the institutional interventions, the Fiavet President, Ivana Jelinic, underlined: “I hope that the government continues not to forget specific measures for travel agencies and we, too, will begin from this assembly to think about the issues to be proposed in support of our sector, continuing if possible on the path of simplification with quick solutions such as self-certification.
“For us, these are months in which there is no work; we, therefore, appreciate the need for efficiency and dialogue, and we record this commitment and the presence of the institutions today in the Fiavet assembly as an element of hope for the future.”
The Rome and Lazio Convention Bureau presents the Smart MICE Platform
Stefano Fiori, President of the Convention Bureau Rome and Lazio, presented the Smart MICE Platform, the digital platform capable of conveying information on the MICE offer of the capital and the entire region. It is a portal currently only in Italian, English, and Spanish which will be implemented with 15 other languages in the near future.
The Smart MICE Platform also aims to be an effective marketing tool thanks to the aggregation of the various players in the sector; the platform, in fact, will allow for the integration of services, commercial strategies, and an innovative booking and data management system. In the coming months, this tool will be equipped with further technological tools such as apps, cloud-based reality, Qrcode, marked images, mapping, geolocation, and immersive technologies to allow the end user to access views and identification of strategic clusters such as the equipment of the congress venues, golf courses, or research centers.
The platform’s mission is to provide Rome and the region in general with a promotional engine to relaunch itself in the various international markets of MICE as a highly-competitive meeting district.
Guatemala launches the mixed art-nature offer
Guatemala’s first time at the World Tourism Event, re-launched on the Italian market with a mix of art, culture, and nature. The ambassador of Guatemala in Italy, Luis F. Carranza, said: “Despite the pandemic, we are confident to resume a tourist flow from abroad as early as 2021, focusing on our 3 UNESCO sites, namely the colonial city of Antigua, an authentic jewel of the past with an architecture of rare suggestion; the Tikal National Park, a place much loved by hikers and trekking lovers; and the Quirigua Archeological Park, with the testimonies of a millenary history that fascinates every visitor.”
Last year, pre-COVID, Guatemala had recorded about 25,000 tourist arrivals from Italy with a double-digit growth trend. Guatemala, therefore, is proposed not as a stop on trips that include several countries in central and southern America, but as a real travel destination, thanks also to the contribution of numerous Italian tour operators who plan it.
“Even if there is no direct flight to and from Italy, Guatemala can be reached by air connections via Madrid and represents a discovery for the Italian traveler who loves Central-South American art and culture,” explained Maria Eugenia Alvarez, First Secretary and Consul of Guatemala and currently engaged in tourism promotion.
“Then there is the almost unique peculiarity of Guatemala of facing 2 oceans and having a coast on the Pacific, equipped with comfortable resorts, and a wilder Atlantic coast, which still deserves an excursion,” she concluded.