1) How did the Tourism Recovery Year in Lombardy end?
2022 was a very positive year for tourism in Lombardy, with data showing a significant recovery in hotel and non-hotel bookings throughout the region, reaching levels close to those of 2019.
The 2022-23 winter season, which is currently underway, is also showing excellent results with very good data especially for mountain resorts, which reported record numbers during the holidays.
2) What guidelines will steer policies on tourism?
The Lombardy Region 2023-2025 strategy focuses on Lombardy as a land of tourism and experiences to be enjoyed in the name of responsibility and sustainability.
Our strategic tourism and attraction goals for the 2023-2025 three-year period include:
· Planning and governing tourism based on a strategy that is shared by the reference ecosystem. Concretely, this will mean pursuing the updating and monitoring of regional regulations, promoting Lombardy through new technologies, tools, and languages while also coordinating the work of territories with the aim of enhancing a coordinated tourism image, in addition to defining synergistic and sharing processes for the tourist supply chain with actions integrated on several levels, from the most local to the national level.
· Enhancing cutting-edge technologies to create the “tourism of the future”, in other words, improving the current digital range of tourism in Lombardy by establishing the proper agreements and tools for data sharing among all stakeholders in the regional ecosystem. Exploring, through the activation of experimental initiatives, emerging technologies in tourism (augmented reality, metaverse, artificial intelligence, etc.) and the creation of appropriate skills and tools to innovate processes, technologies and organization of the tourist business will play an important role.
· Caring for the territory and “tourisms”, enhancing Lombardy's outstanding features with a guiding and propelling approach to preservation and protection, incentivizing good practices in environmental tourism thus fostering a renewed narrative of territories in search of a more sustainable but also more identity-based and more participatory tourism by the communities.
· To focus on people and skills so as to enable a transformation so that territories are better prepared and ready to take on the tourism challenges of the coming years with qualified personnel by encouraging an ongoing and productive dialogue between the working world, trade associations, and sector operators while promoting processes aimed at a widespread hospitality oriented approach.
3) What are the main targets and what resources have been put in place to achieve them?
The objective that we have strived towards in recent years and for which we will continue to work, is primarily to improve the positioning of Lombardy as a tourist destination, working, in close collaboration with our stakeholders, to make our territory increasingly attractive, from various points of view.
In fact, Lombardy has the potential to be a highly tourist-oriented region and has all the credentials to be globally attractive, with its international airports, a fashion and design city such as Milan, 40% of its territory made of mountains and the largest lake area in Europe, as well as the 20 UNESCO sites in its territory.
To promote Lombardy as the land of tourism and hospitality, we will continue our communication and promotion efforts targeting the Italian, European and non-European markets through working on initiatives directed to the general public - also thanks to collaborations and partnerships with relevant stakeholders, and projects on specific thematic issues - and also specifically addressing the B2B sector, also by offering Lombardy's sector operators the opportunity to promote and market their offerings in the best European and non-European marketplaces free of charge, through public tenders and favoring participation in the most important sector fairs.
A driving force behind our work will be the major events that will make Lombardy their home starting this year.
Starting in 2023, thanks to Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture, and then moving on to 2024, with the World Winter Master Games up to the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we will be in the spotlight and will work to ensure that we stand ready to exploit these opportunities for global visibility to revive not only the closely involved areas, but all of Lombardy's beauty and excellence.
To improve Lombardy's accommodation facilities so that we will be ready for the great challenges ahead until at least 2026, a measure was recently approved by the Regional Council to allocate 30 million euro specifically in favor of accommodation facilities.
The resources will be used to support projects to build and renovate hotels and non-hotel accommodations specifically to prepare for the major events that we will be involved in.
4) What are the steps towards the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics?
From a tourism point of view, the Lombardy Region is currently working on preparing for the Milan Cortina 2026 Olympics to the fullest. Our goal is to leverage on the event as a driver for promoting the entire Lombardy territory, so the event becomes a global showcase for Lombardy's rich tourist offer, aiming to enhance even lesser-known but nevertheless fascinating places, to intrigue tourists and take them off the beaten path, in search of the unique but still little-known attractions that our territories can offer, thus promoting the “Lombardy of tourism”.
The preparation process for the Olympics already started in 2021 with the development of a specific plan to promote Lombardy's mountains. The objective of the plan is to promote, in the target reference markets, the mountain area as a strategic asset for Lombardy's tourism precisely in view of the Milan Cortina 2026 Olympics, through both advertising campaigns targeted at the general public and through promotional and marketing activities of the tourism offer addressed to operators.
Lombardy's mountains, have been and still are a major feature in major Italian railway stations. In fact, last December, corners promoting Lombardy's tourist attractions were opened in 4 large and busy Italian stations - Venezia Santa Lucia, Napoli Centrale, Roma Termini and Milano Centrale. Today, the Lombardy tourism narrative continues in the promotional corner opened in Milan's Central Station, where one can find all the information needed to plan a vacation in Lombardy.