The Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT) presented its annual travel industry event Workshop Italia 2021: Active & Leisure this week. Taking place virtually for the first time on March 16 and 17, with an additional day added on Thursday March 18, the workshop offered unprecedented networking and contracting opportunities for Canadian tour operators and travel buyers, who were able to meet some 74 Italian tourism professionals. associated suppliers and regional tourism agencies of Tuscany, Trentino, Puglia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
The event provided an opportunity to showcase Italian destinations and to hear and see what Italy can offer directly from Italian suppliers and representatives from regional tourist boards.
“Health and safety are major issues in Italy these days, hotels and receptive operators have provided extensive training to workers to make visitors feel comfortable,” said Maria Elena Rossi, Marketing Director of the ENIT. “Now is not the time to visit, but when things are more open many tourists will be looking for places away from the crowds, including lesser-known spots, islands and estates in areas such as Umbria , Tuscany and Puglia.”
“Our annual B2B event may have changed, since this edition will be entirely virtual, the objective has not changed. It’s always about bringing together buyers from across Canada and showcasing Italy as the world-class destination that it is,” said ENIT National Director Salvatore Basile. “This platform will offer the opportunity to meet safely across borders and 6 different time zones”.
Basile said ENIT has produced a series of webinars for industry and the general public, which help highlight lesser-known products and services.
ENIT said this year’s show focuses on sustainability, diversity, inclusion and authenticity
“We are ready to support B2B and B2C,” Basile said.
TravelPulse Canada was able to sit down virtually with nearly a dozen suppliers, including tour operators, destination marketing organizations and amazing hotels. Here are some highlights…
Perhaps the most well-known region of Italy, Tuscany/Tuscany is known as the homeland of Florence, Siena, Pisa and other major cities. It is also known for its delicious cuisine and probably for the most popular wines in Italy. There is also an amazing nature, however. The Maremma Regional Park covers over 3000 acres of hills and beaches in southern Tuscany, with incredible hiking, biking and beach hiking. Parco Alpi Apuane has towering mountains north of Lucca and also has beautiful nature. I was told you could take a helicopter to the top of some mountains and then bike down the hill. The Tuscan coastline is ideal for swimming, diving and kayaking. There is also a series of beautiful offshore islands called the Tuscan Archipelago, which includes Elba, Giglio and Isola.
This company was only created a few years ago but it has contracts with some 15,000 hotels in Italy. “We have personal relationships with hotels and with yacht owners and the like,” said Carlo Nocella. “We also offer great experiences and competitive prices.” Nocella said customers are switching from large bus tours to smaller groups. He recommends staying in southern Lazio or southern Tuscany, away from Rome and Florence, and taking day trips. You can also stay half an hour outside of Sorrento while enjoying Positano, Sorrento and Capri.
It is a remarkable region in the northeast corner of Italy with a wide variety of geographical areas. “You can have breakfast in the Alps, lunch in the vineyards in the middle of the region, then dinner by the sea,” I was told. Trieste is the largest city and looks more like Vienna than Venice. There’s a huge main square that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, and the tourist board says they make wonderful specialty coffees that are different from what you’ll find in other parts of Italy. Near Triese is the Castello di Miramare, a beautiful white palace by the sea with a lovely park. There are five UNESCO sites in the area, including Aquileia, an ancient city with beautiful mosaics, as well as Palmanova, which is shaped like a giant nine-pointed star. The central part of the region is home to wonderful wines and farms that produce tasty San Daniele hams and prosciutto. The main town in this region is Udine. The Julian Alps and the incredible mountains of the Dolomites are found in the northern part of the region, only a few hours from the Mediterranean.
It’s a charming little town a short drive from Venice and parked between Padua and Verona. It is also quite close to beautiful Lake Garda. It is also a UNESCO heritage city, famous for its super architecture by the Renaissance architect Palladio. I was told that the White House had a very Palladian atmosphere. The tourist office can organize meetings with winegrowers or cheesemakers. Vicenza is also known as the city of gold, and there is a jewelry museum in the city center. I was told you can rent amazing villages with lots of space for families. One of the great treats is a fish dish called bacalla alla Vicentina, prepared with a local specialty called stockfisch.
THE MATERA COLLECTION
Matera Collection was created to offer travelers independent, unique and distinctive hotels in Matera and its surroundings. Matera is an 8,000 year old city in the Basilicata region, about 35 minutes from the seaside town of Bari. (It’s also featured in the new James Bond film, No Time to Die.) Hotels include ancient palaces, spa hotels, cozy caves and other cool options, with seven properties and 92 rooms in all. Corte San Pietro has striking white rock walls and beautiful rooms, while Palazzo Gattini is considered a favorite of Hollywood types. The folks at Matera Collection can arrange cooking classes, bike tours, shopping tours, and other activities, including visits to the amazing Castelmezzano.
You don’t hear much about Hyatt Centric as a brand in Canada, but there are two in Italy. They have a nice feel, more like a Four Seasons than a Hyatt. The one in Venice is on the island of Murano and features modern decor and amenities in a historic building. Most of the 119 rooms offer stunning city views and there is a lovely urban garden. Overlooking Murano’s Grand Canal, Rivalonga Bar + Lounge brings together must-have Italian dishes and regional specialties for local food and drink experiences all year round. The Hotel de Milan is located in a lively and young area of the city and has 141 rooms. Located between the city’s new skyscrapers and close to the TGV station, the Hyatt Centric Milano Centrale is nestled in the city’s most innovative neighborhood. Some suites have spacious, furnished terraces. The Organics Sky Garden @Cielo terrace offers a breathtaking panorama of the new Milan and a magnificent 360 degree view of the city’s rooftops.
DISCOVER ITALY AND TOUR OF SICILY
Tour of Sicily can introduce you to one of the most amazing regions of Italy. Sicily was controlled by the Greeks, Phoenicians, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards and, now, Italians. You’ll find architecture ranging from Greek Forums to Spanish Baroque, with incredible wines, beautiful little islands, volcanic walks, hilltop villages and fabulous cuisine. Sebastiano Peluso From Tour of Sicily says the multicultural aspect of the island is also reflected in its cuisine, which ranges from pizza to couscous to seafood and chocolate brought from Mexico by the Spaniards. “It’s like going around the world.” Peluso said his company can set up programs for street food tasting, truffle hunting, golf outings, yacht tours, helicopter rides, boat tours and even lunches at the countryside with local families. Peluso also represents Discovery Italy, a New York-based marketing agency that specializes in selecting local tour operators in every region of Italy, including not only Sicily but also Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia and more. .