While the Traveller Review Awards testify to the worldwide search for nature-based destinations, in Italy wine and food tourism focuses on starred restaurants, whilst culture remains at the core.
Slowly but surely. This is the sentiment among practitioners as vaccination campaigns get under way and an EU 'vaccination passport' is on the horizon to save the 2021 season. Yes, but forwards in which direction? Milan, for example, has decided to focus on bleisure after launching its new Convention Bureau. With an eye - of course - on the 2026 Winter Olympics, the aim is to enter the ICCA Top Ten destinations with a series of congresses in coming years, particularly medical ones.
Another strong trend will be the growth of fine dining in hospitality. Starred restaurants are now a reality in Italian hôtellerie too: one of the three new restaurants to have gained "two stars" in the latest Michelin Guide is in fact the Santa Elisabetta of the Hotel Brunelleschi in Florence, while at least five have obtained their first star, including the Kitchen Restaurant of the Sheraton Lake Hotel on Lake Como, with chef Andrea Casali. Food and wine alone is no longer enough: the new post-Covid traveller is looking for a unique gourmet experience in a charming setting. For its 2021 edition, the Michelin Guide itself has introduced a green star for restaurants active on the environmental sustainability front, awarded to only 13 entities in Italy.
Culture in Italy, nature in the world
In a year when local tourism is still expected to account for an important share of travel, another strong attractor for tourism in Italy remains culture. One example is the Apulia Region , which intended to combine two items in 'Let's safeguard Culture and Tourism', a project to support the twin sectors, to which almost 900 companies have adhered in a short time, about 700 of which have obtained funding within a month through the Pugliapromozione Agency.
Looking further afield at international tourism, the search for destinations that are off the beaten track and, if possible, with large open spaces for natural, active and outdoor tourism , clearly emerges from the results of the 2021 edition of Booking.com's Traveller Review Awards: among the 10 destinations recommended, the Prešov region in Slovakia stands out, characterised by expanses of meadows and forests against a backdrop of the Tatra Mountains, or the still wild South America of the provinces of Chubut in Argentina or O'Higgins in Chile , as well as Tasmania and New Zealand.