From walking to cycling and villages, slow tourism attracts 54% of potential travellers. All the opportunities for growth at BIT 2023.
Slow pace. For some it’s a long-standing choice. For many others it was a discovery during the pandemic and post-pandemic years. We are talking about slow tourism, an alternative to mass tourism. Similar to sustainable tourism, but different from traditional tourism, slow tourism emphasizes greater environmental awareness and respect for local culture.
Temporary adaptation or promise for the future?
A recent research promoted by the Research Center on Television and Audiovisuals (Ce.R.T.A.) of the Catholic University of Milan suggests that slow tourism represents one of the four adaptations of tourism to the pandemic - along with motivations, choice of companions and type of accommodation - destined to become structural trends. Once again according to Ce.R.T.A., an international survey showed how slow tourism is increasingly present among travel motivations, as it is taken into account by 54% of potential travellers. Still a far cry from traditional beach holidays (82%) or cultural trips (76%), but almost at the same level of wine and food tourism (55%).
Every slow road leads to BIT 2023
But what is the exact meaning of slow travel? A good example would be walking tourism, a niche that registered a real boom in recent years. From best-known pilgrim itineraries such as the Via Francigena, to lesser-known ones such as the Cammino Basiliano in Calabria, up to an international must-do such as the Camino de Santiago, very often there’s a spiritual motivation for travelling. But there are also itineraries with a main focus on wellness and outdoor activities, such as the Cammino dei Briganti (100 km between Abruzzo and Lazio), the Sentiero del Viandante (45 km on Lake Como), the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (440 km on the Ligurian Apennine watershed) or the Via della Transumanza (224 km from L'Aquila to Foggia).
Another very popular form of slow travel is bicycle touring, which has been very active for years in the Marche region with itineraries such as the castles between Tolentino and Urbisaglia, the Terre dei Briganti around Ascoli Piceno, or the one from the Frasassi Caves down to the sea of Falconara Marittima. Small villages are still an evergreen and, for some years now, have been enjoying an extra opportunity: the so-called “roots tourism” by the descendants of emigrants. A niche that has also attracted the attention of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and that according to a study by the Universities of Calabria, Turin and Mar del Plata in Argentina has registered more than 670 thousand arrivals from Canada, Brazil, and the USA for a value exceeding 650 million euros.
These and other opportunities of slow tourism will be highlighted at BIT 2023, at Allianz MiCo from 12 to 14 February, both by the exhibition itinerary and the rich schedule of events.