There is always a different way, an original angle from which to see a story. So if 2020 was the year of tourism between Italy and China but COVID prevented travel, Discoverplaces and Istituto Italiano OBOR have joined forces to create new links between the two countries thanks to the CPAFFC.
Let's go in order. In November, we joined a call from the Italian OBOR Institute and the CPAFFC (Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries) and went to Chengdu, a 'small' city of 17 million inhabitants, capital of Sichuan Province.
Then COVID arrived in China and closed everything, and we started writing stories about China together and to discover its beauty. Our way of writing enchanted the Chinese who thanked us with beautiful private messages.
We have also been interviewed twice by Chinese television for our business.
When you grow rapidly like China, you often risk leaving some generations behind or not having time to remember the beauty of your roots. And our stories have warmed the hearts of those who have read them.
Then COVID arrived also in Italy and we launched a contest of stories related to towns for two reasons, to make sure that people are engaged in positive thoughts and to remind everyone how much we are the most beautiful country in the world. In fact, we translate all our stories into English and also promote them abroad.
We often speak with the great Michele De Gasperis, founder of OBOR, to update us and at a certain point we received the phone call that everyone expects:
'CPAFFC (Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries) likes what you do and they want to join your contest. They also want to promote Chinese cities."
My legs were shaking. Let's prepare a letter with the Discoverplaces, OBOR and CPAFFC logos to send to all the mayors of China, let's define the rules and let's go.
We have had several meetings with Michele and his collaborators and they have always encouraged us to go together because this can be the beginning of a long journey.
We got scared because we are doing all this as an investment by our small publishing house (innovative start-up because I have a PhD). We decided to join by asking them to send stories in English and we are already equipped in case we receive many.
I felt like the protagonist of Kafka's story about the message to the emperor.
We, a small Italian company that has decided to make ourselves available to territories free of charge during COVID with our professionalism and preparation, have made an agreement with the CPAFFC, the Chinese organization that brings together large cities!
And the paradox is that our logo is on the table of the mayor of Shanghai or Beijing but not on that of Rome.
But we thank the Marche region who believed in us with SVIM, and Gianluca Carrabs, and we are receiving many stories from this region.
We also thank Paola Torrisi and Angela De Michele for their commitment to Sicily which has the record of readers and which shares the stories in English from Catania to Sciacca, from east to west.
Who knows, towns may twin with similar (or perhaps opposite) stories, with unique emotions that can unite and intrigue our two peoples.
In the meantime we tell a story about where it is romantic to give the first kiss, a reader told us about a magical corner of Ascoli Piceno (ARTICLE LINK) and it seems that it brings luck!
We remind you that everyone can participate in the #IlFuturoNelleNostreRadici contest and thus make their town known and give the opportunity to make cultural and tourist exchanges with China.
The articles will be selected by the editorial team of Discoverplaces, translated into English and published in two languages on the portal www.discoverplaces.travel. Participation categories are 4: funny story; history of food or wine linked to a place; traditions; memories. The authors of the most read stories and their municipalities will be rewarded with an award.
Maybe with an event in China and one in Italy.
And who knows where our message to the emperor can go!