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  • Writer's pictureТимофей Милорадович

Revolutionary changes in tourism trends

Perhaps tourism, as we knew it, is dead. What is born instead? Today we are playing a game with Nicolò Reina, an employee of the Custonaci Tourist office, the best in Italy. Elena as a visitor, Nicolò as a tourism service provider.

- OK. Where would I like to go right now? Where is my soul pulling me? .. This is Sicily, definitely. Why? I see myself walking along the path above this close, beautiful and accessible sea, where there are few people, but very beautiful nature, magnificent sunsets and sunrises. I can easily return to a small town where I can live inexpensively and work easily using the Internet.

You don't even need to use the bus, everything is within walking distance on the marble carpet of the sidewalks. By the way, housing prices in Sicily are about 2 times lower, and the Internet in some places is better than on mainland Italy, oddly enough. I would like to walk through the ancient caves of Sicily, which breathe a rich history.

I want to walk through the vineyard, see how the grapes grow, even take part in the harvesting. I want to see how they make this wonderful, lively, clean wine of Sicily, a volcano inside you. I want to see how the amazing pure Sicilian cheese being made before I take it inside. I want to communicate with people about what is dear to them, discovering their similarity to me in fundamental values.

- Okay, Elena. This is the way many people around the world perceive Sicily with its pure nature and pure attitude to food. But you're talking about some deeper integration. Available statistics show that people began to see Sicily as a place where they can go to relax their souls and relieve the tension they received during the pandemic confinement.

What's new is, for example, that in 2020, according to Google Trends, people were looking for family boat rentals at a record scale, with a 40% increase over 2019, a trend that continues in 2021. Italian boat production was one of the markets experiencing a 9.9% increase during the pandemic, and boat sales up 12%. People probably think: "Well, if imprisonment, then let it be a boat." And Italy is one of the first in the world boat market.

This trend is in favor of Sicily as well. Sicily's ports are full of boats. And the Egadi archipelago has become an excellent magnet during these years for boats under different flags. Another emerging trend is visible from the 2021 Italian Food and Wine Tourism Report. The data shows that 71% of Italians choose routes based on the local wine and food culture, exploring new routes, and also re-discovering Sicily. Roberta Garibaldi, author of the report, points out that people want a lively participation in the experience of active and creative well-being.

It is similar to what you expressed in your words. It also means a completely new tourism for Sicily. Something that has never happened before. The territories will have to work smartly to revive rural tourism by engaging small villages and creating network projects to demonstrate their uniqueness. Places like Custonaci look ideal not only for living and working in close contact with nature, but also for networked local projects that will involve all local producers.

Today people are looking for the authenticity of the origin of products, tastes and aromas, which is why such routes as “Mountain Flavors” or immersion in the experiences of ancient wine and cheese producers, for example, appear. People want to restore the spiritual and cultural continuity of all the best. People are looking for that primordial image with which they could partially identify.

They definitely don't want to be identified with anything bad, so I think according to the report, 66% of people want to visit companies with transparent ethical principles, from personnel to farming and growing practices. Agriculture already looks like an ambassador for the local community with its values. Companies that teach simple techniques for dealing with natural wealth without damaging that wealth are also growing in value.

Respect for the values ​​that unite us looks like a condition for the development of territories, today, including a new level of relations between the parties of the territory. In addition, yes, people are looking for comfortable housing in nature, but with transport and the Internet connection, this makes it possible to work remotely and move around, if anything.

Such accommodation can be found in Sicily. As analysts in many countries show, people withdraw money from bank accounts and buy suburban or just comfortable real estate in which they could live and work remotely and safely.

Sicily is full of such real estate, which, moreover, costs about 2 times cheaper than analogues in mainland Italy.

- Nicolò, please tell me how I could imagine coming to your place in Sicily, please offer me safe places for stopping, eating and active recreation. Remember that I am tired, I not only do not want problems, but I do not want even a shadow of risk to my physical, me ntal, spiritual, material well-being. ... Okay, I can go on some adventures like sailing a boat from Trapani to Egadi or go to the mountains ... But I want to know who would be the reliable guy to guide me ...

I would like to ask a lot of questions like “Where are the ancient caves here?" And “Is it true that houses are still sold for one euro? … Well, at least one thousand euros? … What could it be, if what? Maybe I want to have a refuge for my weary soul among your nature" ... And yes, I have children ...

- Elena, if you want to go by boat, then there is a club and a sailing school in Trapani, they will take you ...

- Wait a minute, Nicolò... Could you tell me more about people?

- What do you want to know?

- Well, ultimately, I'll be blunt, I want to know if my captain would be more of an angel or a demon, because I am going to trust him with my life. I don't care about all the insurance in the world, I just want to be near an angel and I don't want to be near a demon. This is the deep matter of all questions. First, I would like to see his face in advance, maybe it's cute. And I can guess myself what he is, if you can't tell me directly. And I would like to have a choice, a gallery of faces, to choose the one who looks more like an angel in this heavenly place ...

- Hmm ... Let me think ...

- Nicolò, the port of Trapani in the photo is full of boats ... Why don't you list a couple of dozen people for me, so that I could find among them someone whom I really entrust my life to? … And I don't care if he took vaccine or not. I really want to know in my heart whether God or the devil will be with me. This determines my decision to go somewhere in general, I choose the paths of God.

Further, when I sail to the island, I want to know in advance if there are any poisonous insects, plants and animals there. How can I not get lost? Where are people nearby? Does internet and phone coverage work there? This is exactly what I want to know. And if I don't have a reliable guide, then there should be a route map with notes. Either a guide or a map! And it’s better if I get it online in advance, so I can get myself together and set on! What is familiar to local residents may be completely unexpected for me. I don’t want problems!

- Elena, I think I understand what you are driving at. Not so long ago, a virtual fair was held in Italy, where suppliers of goods and services showed their faces and offers, and buyers could ask them questions ... You say that the reputation of a place is becoming even more important than before, the reputation requires deeper detail.

Getting to know local suppliers online leads to customer loyalty, people anticipate and then share their experiences with the option to link to a company profile. … Sometimes it seems to us that just beautiful nature and delicious food are enough for relaxation.

Come on, I'll just tell you, and you use your vivid imagination. Take Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve, this red land that you walk almost without meeting other people, it is 1650 hectares of beautiful dwarf palms, olive trees, carob and many fragrant flowering plants, and it is 7 kilometers of coastal strip.

You walk the paths along the rocky coast of Mesozoic limestone, which from time to time is interspersed with small coves, where you can relax your soul, diving into the bright blue sea, no one will disturb you. This is a wonderful place at any time of the year, one of the few places of paradise left in Europe where you can feel peace.

- Okay, but do you know what the problem is? I noticed that a long time ago, but over time I began to feel it especially vividly. If you are really tired and want to rest your soul in this paradise, you will have to work hard to plan the route there. And this despite the fact that the planes fly perfectly to Catania and from there you can get to Trapani.

Yes, there are more planes flying to Catania in 2021 than there were in 2020, and this changes the situation for the better. However, if someone wants to plot a specific route, then there is no clarity. It seems that trains and buses run in Sicily, perhaps you can even rent a sailing boat. But the information is contradictory, especially when it comes to document requirements.

When you look at the pictures of Trapani, you can see that the port is full of boats. But when you try to get to know things better and take a phone number, you realize that it is not so easy. Sicily is slipping away.

- Maybe you complicate and want to see what is not real. If you want to take a boat to the Egadi archipelago, the islands of Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo are about 10 nautical miles from Trapani, in western Sicily, easily accessible from Trapani.

The island of Levanzo, ancient Forbantia, the least touched by the hand of industrialization thanks to its mountainous landscape, home to the famous local spices, where some 400 species of rare plants still grow, is the smallest of the Egadi Islands and, together with Marettimo, isan intact land. Why not just come?

- I've wanted to get to Sicilian spices for years. How can I do this? You see, someone in another country, trying to plan a trip, has no idea how to do it, and how much it will cost, whether he or she can do it at all. How might it look like? Should I just come to Trapani, to the port, choose the boat that is right for me and ask the handsome captain to take me to the islands? This seems not how it gets done in the modern world.

I want to see the boat, the captain and some descriptions, or better - a video, in advance. I'm not even talking about the fact that someone may not know the language spoken by the handsome captain in order to negotiate with him. The problem I see is that Sicilians don't talk about themselves in a way that makes it easy for someone to get to the island. All logistics must be built almost blindly.

Perhaps things seem obvious to Sicilians. But actually it is not so for others. People can plan a trip months ahead, for them it is of great value, they must understand what to expect. Otherwise, uncertainty will create new stress, not healing. And also, I think that the naivety of the market and marketers is that it seems to them that saints and sinners walk the same paths with the same amount of money, but this is not at all the case. I think that a new polarization of a big society has taken place over these years, the masks have been thrown off, new facets of each individual's personality have emerged.

- In fact, I think that you, like me, feel the energy of people who live in a certain place, both past and present, and probably future. Elena, you feel and you know. What do you propose to do?

- I propose to weigh who and what numbers you want to see in your house in Sicily and to post information written in a certain language, understandable for the desired people. This cannot be done alone, the quality of services must be assessed by consumers on their part. Let's join our efforts, let's show where from whom and what one can get in Sicily, let's make such a source. As a consumer, I have to be clear about what kind of adventure I am agreeing to. Otherwise, I better not go.

- Elena, this is a serious issue that requires investment of both intellect and money. Meanwhile, the turnover of the tourism business during the pandemic fell by about 2 times on the island of Sicily, which is minus 8 million tourists a year, and this is an important source of income for families and municipalities. So important that the Sicilian authorities have promised to pay tourists half the cost of tickets if they arrive immediately after the restrictions were lifted.

This was said a year ago, and this measure speaks eloquently. And although in 2021 the airports of Sicily began to receive a third more passengers than in 2020, this did not save the situation. Analysts expect the industry to recover only in 2023.

- Nicolò, things are made easier and cheaper when attention, time and energy are invested more than money. I think if Sicilian tourism wants real growth, it will have to become a little more open by choosing the right expressions.

Please, please, dear mayors of the cities of Sicily, could you kindly put together a good catalog of reliable suppliers of services and products in your territory, so that I can see the faces and "a few words about myself" text about the values ​​of this supplier, so that I understand how to communicate and what to expect!

Do you remember that I do not want to risk being subjected to pressure and manipulation, because I have had enough of this shit in my life already? When you say that Sicily is a heavenly place, what exactly do you mean, and are you the angels of the true God in this heaven on earth? Because it is known that demons were also found where Adam and Eve were expelled. Have you learned a lesson, not to repeat history?

I want to know this in the depths of my soul before I even take one step. Answer, please! And it’s in your best interest as never before. During the pandemic, people have learned to buy real estate online using video tours of the facility. If you remain silent, you will fail.

Although, of course, if people want to get away from civilization, then apparently they will have to really do it, taking some risk.

I believe the pandemic will end soon. Over these 3 years, there have been irreversible changes in tourism. For example, the most enduring trend in tourism is that people no longer want consumer behavior while on holiday. They seek healing through active participation.

Now it's not just food and wine, but people want to talk about life and business while sitting in a barrel cellar. And when they go to nature, they want to walk among the vineyards and even participate in the grape harvest so that they can then have a sip. They want participation and complicity in something pure, beautiful, light and big. This is a hunger for spiritual communication, conversation, in general. If they are vacationing at sea, they want to sail and learn to do it on their own. Actually, this is understandable, sailing boat control is a very symbolic event, it makes you feel that something in this life still obeys you.

- Well, yes, the boat, in general, looks like life, who if not the Sicilians know this. And there is an interesting trend associated with boats. The manufacture and sale of boats is one of the few markets that has not been affected, but won, in the pandemic. Boats on which a family could live and work safely are in use today.

Another trend is related to real estate. As realtors in many countries show, people buy suburban or just comfortable real estate. Sicily is full of such real estate, which, moreover, costs about 2 times cheaper than analogues in mainland Europe.

From all this follows the beginning of the development of new directions of tourism, when people are more involved in the life of local territories. They no longer want to blindly trust, they want to actively participate. In addition, 79% of young tourists want adventure and 78% are considering the cost of travel. And we know that Sicily has advantages on both counts. Young people think little about travel safety. Moreover, more than half of them are open to new friends during the trip.

Let's remember that Sicily is an island of treasure and adventure. This has both pros and cons. As soon as Sicily itself understands how and what to show the seekers of treasures, God will open the way for people, not earlier.

- Thank you, Nicolo’!

- Thank you, Elena!


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