The Region’s strategy also includes initiatives to attract the most knowledgeable visitor and participation in international projects.
How can the territory be made attractive for sustainable tourism? Lazio tries to do this with its infrastructures and accessibility. “We have launched a program of infrastructural interventions capable of reducing environmental impact, breaking down architectural barriers and enhancing territorial safety”, explains Valentina Corrado, Councillor for Tourism, Local Authorities, Urban Safety, Local Police and Administrative Simplification of the Lazio Region. “Specifically, we have invested 4 million euro to ensure the usability of the free beaches of the coastal and lake municipalities, to safely welcome tourists and encourage proximity tourism. Also, thanks to redevelopment projects in 15 municipalities along the coast of Lazio, we have created bicycle paths and pedestrian routes, we have improved the seafront and we have enhanced valuable areas, qualified parks and the Lazio walking trails system, to make the territory usable and increase the quality and services (bicycle and trekking equipment rental even during the winter season) of the tourist offer while respecting the environment. We have implemented measures to make the routes safe, maintain and reclaim them, and have made targeted investments in promotion and enhancement campaigns”.
The Region adheres to networks and projects for the development of sustainable tourism in the European and Mediterranean area
“We believe that investing in sustainable tourism is a priority, meaning respecting the environment and, above all, local communities”, continues the councillor, “also by promoting the seasonal adjustment of tourist flows and combating the overcrowding of towns and villages. We also participate in initiatives that go beyond regional borders. In fact, I have the honour of representing the Lazio Region at the ‘Intermediterranean Commission’, which involves adhering to numerous networks and projects for the development of sustainable tourism in the European and Mediterranean area, starting with BEST MED, a project involving the countries bordering the Mediterranean area, aimed at influencing policies at a local, regional, national and European level”.
The tourist offer adapts to the evolved and aware traveller
Yet, it is equally important to take action to take care of the evolved and aware traveller. Valentina Corrado continues: “The pandemic has changed the needs of travellers, who now tend to be oriented towards local tourism, discovering nearby and perhaps uncrowded destinations, preferring places in close contact with nature and seeking personalised, unique and unrepeatable experiences. It was necessary to adapt to the current scenario, to present and promote a tourist offer capable of responding to the new needs. It was a complex task, but we were helped by the potential of our territory”.
“The authenticity of our territories is the value we promote in the world”
“We have promoted forums at trade fairs in Italy and abroad to tell the story of the authenticity of our territories and we are optimising and implementing the regional tourism promotion portal VisitLazio.com, to provide potential tourists with a complete guide to what Lazio has to offer and detailed and precise information on the various territories and the possible experiences to be had. We have unrivalled attractions: an unparalleled concentration of Unesco sites, a vocation for sports and fitness-wellness tourism, a significant range of food and wine, including starred restaurants, and a calendar rich in major events and popular festivals. Lazio is a destination that can meet every kind of tourist demand and is a safe destination for those seeking unforgettable experiences”.
“Protecting the land means an open and constructive dialogue with everyone who lives on it”
Finally, the promotion of sustainable tourism can be an opportunity to protect the territory and its traditions in a broad sense: “Protecting the territory implies getting to know it in depth, initiating an open and constructive dialogue with all those who live in it, safeguarding and promoting what already exists and makes it incomparable. The tourist and cultural promotion of Lazio starts from its territories, which are rich in history and traditions that deserve to be discovered and supported. We have involved the Pro Loco (organisation for the promotion of the territory) and the municipalities to support traditional, religious and popular events with funding of almost 1.5 million Euro. The policies that we have been pursuing since I took office are based on the exaltation of traditions and the recognition of their intrinsic value for citizens, but also for travellers who are looking for new and unique experiences, driven by the desire to discover the unique features of the area”.
Strategies for tourism recovery: “More nights, more dreams. + Experience”
And what is the forecast for summer 2022? “Even though we are still in an emergency phase, we want to be hopeful”, concludes Councillor Corrado, “confident in the fact that Lazio continues to be a safe destination thanks to the optimal containment of contagions, which we have proved since the outbreak of the pandemic, and to the management of the vaccination campaign. The modus operandi and the results we have seen suggest, and this is what we hope, that the summer will bring with it a change for the better in the tourism sector. In the meantime, we have repeated and expanded an initiative that will enable us to influence the supply-demand trend. With "More nights, more dreams + Experience", for which we are investing 8.5 million Euro, we are giving away an extra night's stay if two or three are booked and used, and two extra nights if five are booked in the same accommodation facility. The measure includes experiences, i.e. a whole series of tourist activities and services for which the costs are significantly financed by the Lazio Region, generating a significant discount for tourists. The initiative, which will be available to Italian and foreign travellers for all of 2022, is designed to stimulate the seasonal adjustment of the tourist season and encourage visitors to stay in our area. We are confident that we will be able to achieve excellent results and increase the number of tourists”.
“The pandemic unleashed an unprecedented crisis on the tourism sector, so we had to deal with the repercussions on the various tourism segments and workers in the allied industries and act promptly to revive a sector that, with difficulty, had tried to resist. In 2021, we launched the "More nights, more dreams" initiative and invested 10 million Euro in this measure, which was created in the run-up to the end of May, a couple of months after I took office, and was made operational in July.
The data collected showed that tourist packages were used by travellers from the various Italian regions and, to a lesser extent, by foreign tourists from both European and intercontinental countries. The final result of the measure is in line with the trend of tourist flows for 2021 recorded in our region: according to our processing based on data from the Bilateral Tourism Board of Lazio - Observatory of the Tourism and Labour Market - between July and August 2021 we recorded, in terms of presences in hotels and tourist resorts, a presence of Italian tourists equal to +60% and a negative flow of foreign tourists equal to -70%. In 2021, tourists flocked to the coast of Lazio in large numbers, extending the summer season, while the exacerbation of illnesses in the autumn led to a significant drop in bookings and a high number of cancellations. Art cities were particularly affected. On the basis of these considerations and the results obtained with last year's measures, we have re-proposed the initiative, optimising and strengthening it, for all of 2022”.
Like all over Italy and the world, the tourism sector in Lazio is still suffering. However, the excellent work that the Region is carrying out makes us confident it will support the tourism industry and make it a driving force for the Region's economic development.