From the creation of increasingly targeted B2B events to bring Tuscany’s tourism sector into contact with international trade, to the development of new “routes” for the promotion of Tuscany on overseas markets. All requiring the creation of regional tourism services which can tell the world about the truest and most authentic and “experiential” aspects of Tuscany. These are some of the 10 challenges in store for Tuscany in 2017, and in recent days they have been presented in Lucca and Cortona by Alberto Peruzzini, director of Toscana Promozione Turistica, during the peripatetic seminar Turismo in Toscana, an informative event organised by the Tuscany Region and ANCI Toscana aimed at facilitating direct communication with local areas regarding the new models of local governance for tourism and sharing the promotional initiatives planned for 2017, for which the regional government has ring-fenced 3.5 million euros.
THE STATE OF TOURISM IN TUSCANY 2015 was a positive year for tourism in Tuscany. The year ended with positive trends for both foreign visitors (+3.5%) and Italians (+2.5%) to the region. These figures, in addition to being higher than the national average, confirm Tuscany as a particularly attractive tourist destination, which succeeded in consolidating already positive 2014 figures and thus re-positioning itself on its pre-crisis growth curve. A situation in which overseas tourists play an essential role, particularly those coming from North America and Europe, which account for 70% of the total overseas visitors to the region. Numbers of travellers from Eastern Europe and non-European countries are also growing fast, with an overall 30% share of international demand. In greater detail, in 2015 the highest numbers in terms of market trends are tourists from Spain (12.2%), followed by those from Portugal (+9.6%), United Kingdom (+3.9%), Germany and Austria (both with +3.6%). Meanwhile, decreases are recorded in visitors from the Netherlands (-4.3%), Norway (-17%) and Russia (-37%). STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR 2017 PROMOTION In the circumstances described above, the strategy which will guide the promotion of tourism in Tuscany for 2017 hinges on three fundamental strands - Tourism Products, Travel Motivation and Territory - which are expressed in the three strategic objectives outlined by the director of Toscana Promozione Turistica, Alberto Peruzzini, during the peripatetic seminar on Tourism in Tuscany, which yesterday visited Lucca and Cortona. “In terms of what the region has to offer”, Peruzzini explained, “the priority is to strengthen the positioning of Tuscany as a destination by means of strategic interventions geared to consolidating the existing provision and facilitating the development of innovative new products relevant to our target audience, including the use of state-of-the-art digital tourism tools”. Having created the “product”, it will then be crucial to work to increase demand. “In this respect”, the director of Toscana Promozione Turistica emphasised, “the priority is to orientate promotional and marketing activities to match travel motivation for the various target groups in both the Italian and foreign markets, with a division between consolidated and emerging markets. In 2017 we will implement effective promotion and distribution channels on the various markets, while maintaining a constant and detailed monitoring of trends in demand”. Lastly, the re-organisation of Tuscany’s provincial administration since January 2016 has strengthened the involvement of the Tuscan Territories, which play a key role in the development of tourism as a product, in close collaboration with Toscana Promozione Turistica. “Regarding the implementation of the regional strategy for development on lines of territory rather than province”, Alberto Peruzzini concluded, “the aim is to establish shared agreements and planning geared to increasing the competitiveness of destinations, especially those areas not yet developed for tourism”. THE 10 CHALLENGES FOR TOURISM IN TUSCANY Alberto Peruzzini’s strategic objectives translate into 10 challenges for the promotion of tourism in Tuscany, divided into 4 strands of intervention. The first two challenges concern the creation of targeted events - both in Tuscany itself and abroad - which are capable of matching the region’s tourism provision with international trade. And at the same time the development of sustainable tourism, aided by the reorganisation of the digital ecosystem of tourism promotion. Meanwhile, in terms of the tourism product, the challenges in store for Tuscany are the promotion of existing products on both established and emerging markets, and the creation of innovative new products which can tap into new trends in international and Italian demand. First and foremost are those linked to Creative Tourism, the Via Francigena and other pilgrim routes in Tuscany. The market scenario is more complex. Here the challenge is actually to safeguard the domestic market which - as we have seen - is growing again after several years of difficulty, and the “classic” markets for the region’s tourism. But above all the priority is to develop new “routes” to consolidate the positioning of Tuscany on emerging markets and those where growth is strong, without neglecting areas which are currently in difficult economic circumstances and where intervention is needed to maintain, and if possible increase, market share. Countries identified as priorities for 2107 include Japan, the Gulf states, Brazil, Russia, China and South Korea. Finally, the last three challenges concern the implementation of regional strategies for territorial development. Here the work of Toscana Promozione Turistica will be to implement initiatives for the development and protection of tourism products, the promotion of the images and brands of the various Tuscan territories and the strengthening and promotion of the authentic factors which have always been among the pillars of Tuscany’s attractiveness. We need to bear in mind that 70% of the tourists visiting our region are on their second visit at least, and they are mostly what is known as experiential travellers, and therefore highly attracted to the lifestyle of the area. This final challenge is a fundamental one, then, both in terms of retaining visitor loyalty and also developing high quality tourism.