ITALY (eTN) – The World Heritage Tourism Expo (WTE) 2012 will come alive this year as it hosts the first edition of the “World of the Mediterranean Diet.” Event innovations include the change in location, with the expotaking place in the new spaces of the Teatro Lirico and Pala Eventi at the gates of Assisi, which opens new opportunities for exhibitors, said Marco Citerbo, CML Consulting. The cultural and tourist sites linked to UNESCO, and the new section that will host World Day on the Mediterranean Diet being held at the new Pala Eventi, is a dynamic logistics solution.
The focus on diet, declared an “Intangible Heritage of Humanity” three years ago, is the main attraction this year. “From September 21 to 23, Assisi will host foreign tourist representatives and UNESCO sites, as well as major food manufacturers like Italian food group, Colussi; the olive oil Roads Associations; and a selection of organic farms involved in the tender integrated UNESCO showcase of Assisi.
The B2B workhop on cultural and responsible tourism will be held on September 21 at the Palace Vallemani of Assisi for more than 100 selected sellers and buyers coming from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, France, Great Britain, the USA, Scandinavia, and Japan, in partnership with Gambero Rosso.
“In addition to the exhibition,” anticipated Citerbo, “there will be three days of conferences; seminars related to the UNESCO World [Heritage sites]; with the participation of the Italian Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Environment and Agriculture.”
Of relevant importance is a partnership with Gambero Rosso for the “Days of the Mediterranean Diet.” On the stage of the Teatro Lirico, chefs will take turns performing three live episodes of preparing Mediterranean cuisine related to the atmosphere of the macro territory. Gambero Rosso is the top school of cuisine in Italy (Rome based) performing daily cooking programs through SKY TV.
The winning formula
One of the aims of the WTE, from its birth until today, is the enhancement of the UNESCO sites on the tourist market. Since the first edition dating back to 2010, leading Italian tour operators (I Viaggi dell’Elefante, Il Toucano Travel Research, Natural Voyages, and Alpitour Group) have produced travel brochures dedicated to World Heritage sites. They have received the “Prix of Responsible Tourism” by l’Agenzia di Viaggi, the Italian daily travel trade, and media partner for the WTE tourism professional. “The travel brochures are professionally made and propose itineraries of high cultural interest where [they] are enhanced [by] the excellence of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” concluded Citerbo.
UNESCO has recognized a total of 936 World Heritage Sites: 725 cultural, 183 natural, and 28 mixed assets, present in 153 countries around the world. To date, Italy is the country that has the largest number. But contrary to what one might think, the “fortune” of tourist locations that becomes part of this golden list, must be prize worthy. Flow statistics highlight a paradox: since the inclusion in the list, the sites do not detect significant increases in terms of arrivals and presence. The mention of UNESCO, is in fact, only the starting point in order to benefit in terms of this great business opportunity. Furthermore, in many cases, some resorts suffer from a loss of competitiveness due to low sensitiveness of the authorities, lack of resources, or simply political and business myopia.
The analysis was created three years ago – the idea of providing UNESCO sites the opportunity to promote and market with the tour operators’ and travel agencies’ specialized packages that are offered ad-hoc, to be launched on the market. The WTE wants the exhibition to be a meeting point between sites inscribed on the World Heritage List and the world of culture, tourism, and the economy.