2019 was declared the Year of Slow Tourism by the Ministry of Culture, a year dedicated to “slow” and sustainable itineraries such as paths, bicycle routes and horse riding.

In contrast to today’s fast life, all that is slow is born and succeeds, starting from food with Slow Food up to every aspect of life and also to tourism. ‘Slowness’ is the ability to feel the flow of our life through our emotions. Giving yourself time or spending time is perhaps the most precious thing you can do, especially when you are a tourist.

Tourism has been travelling on two tracks for some years: that of large organizations and that of the independents who spend time alone organizing their travels. In this second group there are people moved by the desire to find unique places or those reserved for a few. Places that can lead to excitement to be shared then between friends and on social networks.

Picture by Benedicta Mary Lee

Slow tourism involves walking paths, trekking, bike paths, art exhibitions, craft markets, nature parks, local food, monuments, art and craft workshops plus special accommodation in places with unique characteristics. The new tourist seeks a positive emotional experience in the specialities of the area in which he arrives and in the people he finds, an essence given by a mixture of history, hospitality and people who represent the uniqueness of the place.

The year of slow tourism also concerns high-profile historical trains and we at Discoverplaces are working with the association ‘A passi Ferrati’ and the train museum Roccasecca-Avezzano which aims to recommence the Valle del Liri railway.

This tourism is dedicated to those who want to travel through Italy at a slow, short, steady pace. Nothing better than the mountain! An opportunity to enhance the territories of Italy less known by international tourism and relaunch them in a sustainable way, encouraging walking experiences, cultural itineraries, horse-riding trips, bicycle routes.

The data from the Ministry of Tourism on the trend of tourist presences in 2017 and 2018 speak clearly and confirm the tendency of a slight decline in the number of visitors to the big cities and an increase of stays in small villages, agritourism and other non-traditional accommodation solutions such as diffused hotels.

It is no coincidence, then, that Article 6 of the national law on small towns and villages involves slow tourism as a driver for the development of territories. But the territories must be ready not to lose this opportunity because it is just for this time.

This ‘slow’ tourist is attracted to wanting to experience particular emotions by searching for unknown adventures or unknown places. We have so many beautiful places that we could live only on tourism. But are we really ready to enchant the tourist and make him find us?

How do we create the experiences that a tourist is looking for?

Let’s take a simple example to understand how to convey positive emotions to a tourist; let’s take the case of offering a bruschetta with oil to one of our visitors.

What difference is there in saying ‘I offer you this bruschetta made with local oil’ and ‘I offer you a bruschetta with bread baked in a wood oven by the baker in the square using mountain flour and oil from Canino that was made with olives freshly picked in the morning when still green and then cold-pressed to maintain the scents of the pasture and keep all the nutrients’?

Which bruschetta would you like to taste? Which would you post in the social media?

I think like me you would choose the second as the story stimulates the curiosity but also because I want to show friends that you have experienced a unique and unrepeatable experience unless you go to the same place, choose the same baker and the same oil.

To activate this virtual mechanism, the difference is all in history. We must learn to be ‘enchanters’, to excite even with words. We must learn to tell stories or, as we say in English, to start story telling.

Just to help small businesses learn to tell stories in Italian and to be ready with material in English, we at Discoverplaces have developed a program that makes small businesses grow and makes them “friends of tourists”.

For some years in our portal we have been telling unique stories about people and places that are not known and that open the door to new experiences. We have become a point of reference for foreign tourists and with our Thursday newsletter on events and festivals we inform the ‘slow’ tourist looking for experiences and opportunities in smaller towns.

The year of Slow Tourism we take it as an opportunity to grow together and to make a qualitative leap to those territories and small businesses that thought they were marginal but that today can become leaders.

Picture by Benedicta Mary Lee

A street where artisans and artists meet and you can get excited by the beauty of their creations. Here is where special places are discovered.