VERONA, ITALY – Illasi Valleys, the first association of companies in the Province of Verona focusing on territorial marketing, has been created. Fifty-two companies from the wine and olive oil, hospitality and manufacturing sectors have joined forces collecting assets totaling 520,000 euro which will be used to develop tools to promote local hospitality, increase visitors to the area, and to share the benefits between all members.
The association was formed under rulings set out in law 33 of 2009 and subsequent modifications. This law was a bold move by the legislator to foresee lean legislation allowing different types of companies to legally unite to undertake specific projects. The Illasi Valleys network focuses primarily on internationalization, research, innovation, and marketing of the area.
The network has given itself the ambitious objective of increasing international visitors to the area to 122,000 visits per year in the next 4 years. For this to happen, the project has involved all the companies in the area that are looking to improve and expand their activities and maintain the excellence the area is known for. The network is currently composed of 52 companies although 10 more members are due to join by the end of 2012. Even though the members vary greatly in terms of their mission and structure, each participates equally. Members range from restaurants to farms, from producers of local products to hospitality (relais, country house, holiday homes), and also include artisans, retailers, travel agencies, and transport providers.
The freedom granted by this legislation has been used to create a model of governance which is extremely Anglo-Saxon with a clear separation between ownership and management. The contract has a high degree of flexibility and safeguards the association. Membership requires a significant level of initial trust from each member which is then balanced out by a clear limitation of corporate risk. Each member is required to undersign an investment of 10,000 euros to be paid in 4 equal yearly installments. This guarantees a constant flow of funds for the network to use to efficiently use funds made available through public subsidies and above all, to generate profits which will then be reinvested either directly or by supporting investments made by the members. Any support given to members is made on an equal basis.
The little-known area in the Province of Verona covers approximately 300 km2. The area includes the alpine foothills and three valleys which then open onto the Po valley. Many well-known brands of wine and olive oil that export their products internationally are located here. The area covers 11 villages: Colognola ai Colli, Cazzano di Tramigna, Illasi, Lavagno, Mezzane di Sotto, Tregnago, Badia Calavena, San Mauro di Saline, Rovere Veronese, Velo Veronese, Selva di Progno.
By basing the network on the analysis and management of strategic information for the development of the area, the network has promoted the creation, implementation and continuous modifications of a local social economic accounting system which is innovative and which reproduces the circularity of commercial relationships across the whole area as well as external flows in direct cartographical and econometric correlation with the urban and rural environment.
The project includes important partnerships such as those with the Department of Economics at the University of Verona, the Banco Popolare and Antonveneta. The latter having given a very significant contribution with a loan on future installments for a total of 125,000 euro allowing the project to attain its objectives earlier than initially planned. A network of international brand ambassadors located in various countries has also been created and a contract with US tour operator TourCrafters has been signed. The network is currently focusing on increasing the number of visitors to the area coming from Northern Europe and the US.
FORECASTS FOR 2013
The expected budget for 2013 is ambitious. The resources available, which in the last official document available totaled 465,000 euro, should arrive at 1,200,000 euros.
Against forecasted investment of 374,020 euro, the network should receive 187,650 euros of subsidies from European and regional funds which will be used for training and investments in geolocalization (the construction of the georeferenced website is in partnership with Dwi S.p.A di Enzo Cavazzola). The revenues generated are estimated to be 387,000 euros for 2013.
A total of 125,000 euro has been allocated for the training of local staff to improve hospitality and communication.
Developments programmed for 2013 include collaboration with Emozione 3, a partnership with other national and international tour operators and the activation of an E-commerce website. Furthermore, partnerships with the Dutch Consulat in Verona and the Chambers of Commerce for the Netherlands and India have been signed creating important contacts with Asian and Northern European countries.
One of the main activities in the last months of 2012 and 2013 is the participation at international tourism events such as BIT in Milan, ITB in Berlin, TUR in Gothenburg and the Gourmet Festival in Rheingau. Illasi Valleys will also be a partner of the final of the Italian Rally cup, “Due Valli” and the Euposia Challenge wine competition.
“The network is expanding with important partnerships and collaborations so that in 2013 many of the ambitious objectives that were set out at the beginning of the project will be reached. The feedback is positive, this new entity has generated a lot of interest and is already becoming a model case-study, a great example for other areas to follow,” said Bernardo Pasquali, promoter and manager of the project along with Mirko Meneghelli and Paolo Ianna.