FICO will replace an 80,000-square-meter old fruit and vegetable wholesale market space in Italy. A new tourist destination strongly characterized by “Made in Italy” is ever more loved by international visitors for good eating. The promotion of FICO is to supposedly become another attraction for Italy that will be included in the ENIT three-year plan which contains a cluster dedicated to food and the itineraries of taste, as explained by ENIT President Evelina Christillin. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sealed the deal!
October 2017 will see the birth of this market – one of the largest food markets ever seen in the world, so it is promised. It will be a permanent food and agriculture site comparable to a mini expo. The given name remains within the theme: FICO, which in Italian is the name of the “fig tree.” Here, the acronyms stands for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina (Italian Rural Factory). Its location will be in the Bologna district, an area known for its excellence for food and produce.
“The objective of FICO Eataly World is to enhance the typical Italian products through tastings, entertainment, and knowledge of our territories. Our goal is to attract at least 5 million visitors per year: 2 million Italians, 1 million pensioners, 500,000 students, and 1.5 million foreign tourists,” said Farinetti.
Visitors will find 40 high-typicality eateries as well as fields (10,000 square meters) for the cultivation of a variety of fruits and vegetables, stables, threshing floors, demonstrations of the manufacturing of products, cooking of the products, 6 children’s educational rides, lecture theatres, a cinema, a convention center for 1,000 people, shops, a market for direct sales, and areas dedicated to sports. A cooking school will graduate hundreds of students necessary to the continuity of what today has become art to be exported worldwide. And in the future, there will also be a hotel.
“We know that food and wine genres are the most categories purchased [from] by foreigners, and since Italy is the first EU country to agri-food number of PDO and PGI products, to set up a real sanctuary to present the Italian excellence is a courageous operation that resulted successful,” stated Dorina Bianchi Under Secretary of State to the Ministry of Culture Activities and Tourism (Micbtat). FICO is a challenge made possible with the involvement of a private consortium for a total investment of 100 million euros by detecting a public trust that in 40 years will return to management at the city of Bologna, owner of 80% of the land granted to FICO. The remaining 20% belongs to the Emilia Romagna region.
Research conducted by Roberta Milano, Digital Director of ENIT, has shown that, in 2015, more than 920,000 foreign travelers visited Italy for a purely culinary holiday, an increase of +5.9% compared to 2014. The expense of foreigners to Italy, in 54% of cases, is motivated as a food tasting holiday. Fabio Lazzerini, ENIT Director, sees FICO as an attraction that can contribute to increase a longer stay by tourists. This is a plus that the new ENIT wants to exploit as a difference with other competitors such as Spain or other Mediterranean countries.
The first official release of FICO abroad will be at ITB Berlin with a press conference and a series of meetings with international tour operating. From the promotion, it will step into the marketing, concluded Tiziana Primori, who confirmed an ad-hoc program to best present FICO to Italians and foreign tour operators to stimulate the creation of tourist packages that include the experience within the FICO park.