From food to engines, art and culture: 'productive districts' to boost tourism

From food to engines, art and culture: 'productive districts' to boost tourism

For years, local tourism systems have existed but now have new potential to be developed given the recovery. Better if in synergy with production districts. And not only the food and wine ones.

Territories have been promoting districts in tourism for several years now. They are often exploiting synergies with local production. The Wine and Oil Routes are excellent examples of how a production closely linked to a territory - in this case, more terroir than a district - can be transformed into a tourist vocation. In a country that boasts the world record for protected food products, there is hardly a single corner that does not have a typical product to promote. Thanks to the synergies between BitMilano, TUTTOFOOD and HostMilano, Fiera Milano represents a point of reference and integration between the tourism, food and hospitality supply chains.


However,given the post-pandemic recovery, it is time to push the accelerator to seize untapped potential. Even beyond food, the possibilities are almost endless: think of the Motor Valley in Emilia, the network of company museums in Lombardy (where else in the world could you find a museum dedicated to coffee machines?) or the Fashion Triangle in Veneto, not to mention the countless routes linked to the great eras or personalities of our art history.


From manufacturing districts to tourist destinations? This could be one of the keys to relaunching incoming Italy, also aiming at a recovery in domestic tourism. An opportunity that can be based on a long tradition and a solid legal basis. Productive districts are one of the key factors that, since the post-war period, have enabled the rapid transformation of our country from a still essentially agricultural economy to an industrial power. Their importance is such that a special law, No. 317/91, was passed to regulate their development. Law 317/91 defines them as "territorial areas characterised by high concentrations of small enterprises with a particular productive specialisation, and where there is a particular ratio between the presence of enterprises and the existing population".


Although we generally refer to industrial districts - from the best known such as the furniture district in Brianza to the eyewear district in Belluno to the more recent but equally successful such as the aerospace district in Apulia - many will not fail to notice that such a definition also perfectly describes many tourist destinations in Italy. In fact, the following year the discipline was extended to the tourism industry with Law 488/92, which established the Local Tourist Systems, real tourist districts that introduce the concept of integration between SMEs that characterises industrial districts into tourism. In this historical time, the heritage certainly has further potential to be exploited.


All the opportunities for relaunching Italy will be explored and enhanced at Bit 2021, at fieramilanocity from 9 to 11 May.