The Italian National Tourist Board (INTB) hosted a group of Australian travel company representatives at one of the world’s only international trade events devoted to ancestry tourism, ROOTS-in, in Basilicata in southern Italy earlier this week.
ROOTS-in promotes and facilitates the knowledge of roots tourism with international tour operators, with the aim of developing specific package tours with Italian suppliers. The event has seen over 500 international delegates gather from 20-21 November 2023.
The Australian delegates enjoyed a pre-conference familiarisation tour, including a visit to Viggiano, a hilltop town perched along the ridge of the upper Agri Valley. Activities included a pasta-making class, aperitivo hour and an exclusive performance of Apra Viggianese (performed on a traditional harp) in the town’s central square Piazza Regina delle Genti Lucane.
The travel companies represented from this part of the world included Utracks, Albatross Tours and Holidays of Australia & The World.
With an estimated 1.2 million Australians of Italian descent, there’s an ‘untapped’ roots tourism market, says Emanuele Attanasio, Country Manager, Italian National Tourist Board Australia & New Zealand:
“Italian descendants represent a tourism segment with enormous potential, not only from a visitation numbers perspective but also because of how and where they travel. They often visit smaller regions and travel year-round outside of peak periods, which helps contribute to our mission of encouraging visitor dispersal across the country, and the seasons.”
“We know that the biggest advocates for Italy are Italians themselves. Encouraging those with an Italian descent to visit lesser-known parts of the
country and return home to become ‘ambassadors’ and inspire others to discover a deeper side of Italy, is what we’re hoping for,” Attanasio added.
The goal of ROOTS-in is to promote and facilitate ‘culture of origins’ tourism between Italian and international tour operators, with the aim of developing specific packages for this type of traveller. The project is organised by Agenzia di Promozione Territoriale Basilicata, in collaboration with the Italian National Tourist Board and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
INTB estimates that between 2010 and 2019 there were more than 10 million tourists who travelled to Italy to make a trip to rediscover their roots. The estimated spending is more than EUR 5 billion.
Lead image: Pictured in Piertrapertosa from left are: Emanuele Attanasio, INTB; Megan Thackray, Albatross Tours; Marco Patavino, Il Globo; Michele Salazar, UTracks and Cos Matteo, Holidays of Australia & The World.