Publish Time：2021-09-18 20:11:42Source：WTCF
【Introduction】：As one of the most important pillar industries in Italy, tourism plays a vital role in promoting the country's economic and social development. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the Italian government has carried out multiple measures to revive the tourism industry. During the "WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development" held on 3 September 2021, Mr. Cristiano Varotti, Chief Representative of Italian National Tourist Board Shanghai Office, accepted an exclusive interview of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), and shared his insights on Italy's measures to revive the tourism industry and opinions concerning sustainable development of tourism.
As one of the most important pillar industries in Italy, tourism plays a vital role in promoting the country's economic and social development. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the Italian government has carried out multiple measures to revive the tourism industry. During the "WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development" held on 3 September 2021, Mr. Cristiano Varotti, Chief Representative of Italian National Tourist Board Shanghai Office, accepted an exclusive interview of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), and shared his insights on Italy's measures to revive the tourism industry and opinions concerning sustainable development of tourism.
WTCF: What do you feel the most impressed during this period by now?
Mr. Cristiano Varotti: Actually, I think this is a very meaningful event. Because the time that I have been following the conference and the panels, we had some very meaningful insights about the industry, the state of the tourism now, which are the perspectives for the next future. We had some very interesting information coming from people working in several different fields of the industry and several countries. And actually we see there is a common goal, there is a common perspective. And we're all working towards the recovery of the industry. This is what we are looking forward to. We have been sharing some very meaningful information about which are the tools, which are the ways that we can use in order to achieve this result as soon as possible. The moment is difficult, especially for outbound tourism. There is no perspective in the short term for the opening of the borders. But we hope that things are gonna change soon. Today we've been listening to several speeches that are actually going deeper in the topic of how to use the new technologies in order to support the recovery of the tourism. And I believe that Italy also has a lot to learn in this moment from China in terms of how to use technology to make people feel safe. So this conference has been quite meaningful for us, because we got the opportunity to share many opinions with the leaders in this industry both from the government and the private sector. So, yeah, we're really happy about this.
WTCF: What measures has Italy taken to revive tourism industry since the outbreak of COVID-19. How is the recovery going?
Mr. Cristiano Varotti: We have been deploying several instruments, several policies in order to support the tourism industry. One is improving the quality of our communication on the international markets and another one is of course supporting our industry players in Italy to go through this situation of crisis. We need to make sure that all the players, the chain in the industry would be safe and sound when the crisis would be gone. We need to learn how to live together with the virus because most likely it's something that is gonna stay with us for a long time. So we're going to develop some policies that allow us to support the tourism industry in this particular situation and to make sure that we are gonna go through this moment. One is financial policies for the supporting industry. One is investment in the new technologies. So make sure that our destinations are ready to receive the new kind of tourist that is hyper-connected, always online, both in the face of inspiration and in the way he enjoys the destination and travel experience. And then we are making big efforts in order to understand the new communication platforms. So how to communicate better, especially for young generation. We see that now the trend is going towards more sustainability in the travel. So people are more interested in going to visit destinations that allow contact with nature. And so sustainability now is actually a theme. So we have the opportunity to improve the promotion of destinations that normally are not included in the traditional tours of Chinese tourists in Italy. So normally you know Chinese tourists are visiting Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, maybe few other places. Now with the new trends to experiencing that we're seeing in the market, we have the opportunity to promote new destinations. The countryside, the mountain and the south of Italy are very good options for travelers. So this is what we're gonna do So better communication, investment in technology, and support policies in terms of financial support for the companies and for the players in the industry.
WTCF: What cooperation has Italy developed with China regarding tourism in face of COVID-19?
Mr. Cristiano Varotti: We have been cooperating very closely during the last year and a half in order to find solution to overcome the crisis. Especially in the first few months when Italy was in need, we received strong support from the Chinese government, from the local governments as well. You know they have been supporting their partner in Italy by sending the materials we didn't have and we strongly needed. I'm thinking about the mask, the devices for the personal protection. So we felt China very close to us during the first month of the pandemic. And we also tried to help as much as we could. We even sent some technical, medical teams to China during the outbreak. We have been cooperating with local governments in terms of tourist promotion. So in the last month, we have been visiting many cities all around China in order to plan the next actions and promotional activities for the future. Next year is gonna be a very important year for the relations between Italy and China. Because it's gonna be the year of tourism and culture that originally was supposed to happen in 2020, then has been postponed to 2022. So next year there will be a lot of activities, many cooperation events in terms of cultural happenings and exhibitions. And we're gonna work with the local governments in order to organize activities and joint promotional campaigns that can benefit both sides.
WTCF: How will Italy continue to help promote world tourism based on its own advantages?
Mr. Cristiano Varotti: How Italy would help the world? Yeah, this is actually a big responsibility that you're giving, doesn't it? I think that everybody, it's not on Italy, everybody has to do its part. Like we must have the new consciousness, that we have to act responsibly. What we can do is of course going in the direction of completing our vaccination or our population, make sure that everybody is safe. But then I think it's an individual choice that to have now, ahead of us. So with more of the tourism, we want to develop in the next future. The post pandemic tourism business cannot be the same as before. So what we can do is supporting this to go into this direction. So make sure that the themes of environmental protection and low carbon technologies, the distribution of tourists outside of the major cities, major tourism destinations. So try to find the way to stop overtourism with better consequences that has on the local populations, on the environment. So everything has to move in a more sustainable direction. And that's what we can do. You know Italy has many advantages. We are a country of bigger technological advancement in terms of environmental protection. And that's what we can do. We can apply our knowledge, our experience also in the industry of tourism. So that's what we can do. This is the way we can contribute.