ITALY (eTN) – After the time of sowing, follows the harvest. After a winter of hyperactivity across the border, including workshops and trade fairs on the horizon, is the growth of foreign visitors, attracted to an island “not only for the rich.” This is the message that the Sardinia Regional Department of Tourism, led by Louis Crisponi, conveyed to the Italian market to recover domestic tourism shares.
The thorn was, and still is, the high cost of the ferry links from the mainland to Sardinia island. To counter its effects, which in 2011 resulted in a decrease of 5.6% of the flow, work continues on the fleet with its Sardinian Ferry company “Saremar” whose rates were maintained as “democratic.” For hoteliers, islanders, and key players of the seasonal adjustment, there is a hoard of 8,800,000 euros. It is the envelope of the tender for the rehabilitation of structures.
The new promotional campaign applied and the goal
“The corporate campaign designed by Gavino Sanna, whose testimonial [is] Caterina Murino, started in April and aimed to promote an image of mysterious and accessible Sardinia to discover respecting the environment and traditions. Soon implemented, the promotion campaign to support Saremar debunked the reputation of a destination and its most beloved theme of ‘the island a haven for all.’”
Great excitement is also on about the social networks. What was your web strategy?
“Everything revolved around the Platform Sardinia Tourism 2.0. With a daily promotion we “pre-commercialized” tourism islanders’ products through the website Sardinia Tourism Development. The aim was also to show and share with the online community the scenic beauty and cultural traditions of Sardinia through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Flicker, activated for the first time this year by the region.”
Did you record significant fluctuations in the summer?
“The watchword is caution. We closed 2011 with an overall decrease in arrivals of 5.6% despite an increase of 9% flows abroad. We expected a further increase from the foreign markets due to our promotion campaign across the border. In Europe we participated in major international exhibitions, in addition to a road show to 11 mini-workshops in key countries. [For] time reason[s we] allowed only eight; the last three – Paris, Warsaw and Madrid – have been postponed to the month of October.”
Your strategy is “re-gain the Italian market?”
“To regain a significant decrease of the domestic market, we demonstrated that the island is more attractive and convenient then our competitors’ destinations in the Italian peninsula.”
The strongest markets?
“In Italy, the Lombardy region remains the main patronize[d] with over a half million presence, followed by Lazio. … At [the] European level, our stronghold is Germany with [a] 1,200,000 presence in 2011, followed by France – 750,000, [which] soared to dizzying doubl[e] attendance. On holds [is] the British market, while [there is] strong growth [in] … arrivals from Scandinavia and Russia.”
And the most profitable segments?
“The department invests to enhance and further upgrade the sun and sea areas – [a] high quality product. In general, the promotion plan includes several segments: outdoor activities and sports such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, Nordic walking, diving and sailing, tourism cultural routes through villages and monuments, historic houses and villas, royal cities, archaeological tours and trails in protected areas, fitness centers and wellness, recreational boating, religious tourism, school, golf, and conference centers. The demand is increasingly looking to nature and “reminiscence,” demanding more and more qualified services – where these aspects are covered the tourist flow records increase.”
Then the challenge remains that of the seasonal adjustment: how the Sardinia region encourages the tenants of the hosting facilities to extend their operative periods beyond the high season?
“The promotional strategies of the local authorities place[s] in the foreground the sustainable development of high-quality tourism on the whole territory and throughout the year. The seasonal adjustment policy aims to enhance the valuable areas, promoting the assembly of small and medium enterprises and strengthening the integrated tourist offer. The aim is also to promote eco-regions and sets of products, from culinary and handicrafts, in addition to structuring themed itineraries also supporting the development of infrastructure related to sports and recreational activities with low environmental impact. ”
What are the tools in the field?
“European funds have given the opportunity to activate three announcements. The first of approximately 9 million euro [is] to promote ‘Interventions and intangible assets to complement and improve the supply of businesses tourism.’ The second of 1.5 million [is] to limit the environmental impact of recreational facilities, encouraging the use of renewable sources. The third 2.5 million supports the installation of physical systems and multimedia exhibition to showcase the excellence of artistic Sardinian artisan class. “
April has seen the kick off of the summer Saremar ferry travels reservations campaign. Any business recovery and changes in the fleet and on the routes operated?
“[The] Sardinian ferry fleet recorded a boom in ticket sales after just over a month of opening of bookings for June, July and August graze [a] share a 100,000 passengers plus cars on the route from Olbia to Civitavecchia, immediately confirmed, while the most recent route Vado Ligure-Porto Torres sold 18,000 tickets in 10 days and more than 5,500 vehicles’ space. The statistics on [the] season closing is expected to gift us with growth figures, surpassing those of last year which recorded 134,000 passengers.”
Have the rates remained unchanged?
“The 2012 tickets cost has been competitive compared to other providers and strongly contributes to the success of the price control implemented in 2011. Efforts will be made to look for new routes in the future, maintaining the competitive price strategy.”
Regarding marine territorial continuity, is there a concrete possibility that the Italian government can rely on regional skills and resources for self economic support?
“It’s a very subtle matter [for the] Councillorship for In-Chief of Transport. It is sometime that the colleague Christian Solinas is working on it with grit and determination, to find the best solutions to the free movement by sea of Sardinians and visitors. In this respect, I quote the words of the councilor: ‘The goal is to find a balance that allows the region to govern the maritime transport system, defining routes, quality of services and rates.’”
The new era of Sardegna tourism
After debuting in Bit Milano, the network Sardinia Tourism 2.0 takes off. The platform involves all players in the tourism industry, prompting users to participate through all social networks. Inside there is a new website, Sardinia Tourism Development ( www.sardegnaturismo.it ), which implements a kind of technological revolution through the “window mode” to that of indirect marketing promotion. Here, offer and demand meet.
The portal is updated daily with new interactive tools, including special offers proposed by operators.
Dunes and flamingos?
Despite the present difficult times (economic) the offer of the operators on “Destinazione Sardegna” is rich and varied, focusing mainly on the pristine beaches of the island, starring almost exclusive villages, more comfortable and suitable for family vacation. However, there are proposals for hotels and residences close by said natural resources.
The capture of this brief story refers to the long-standing reputation of a luxury destination acquired by the island of Sardinia since 1962 when Prince Karim Aga Khan Ismaili and a group of founding members converted the pastures and rocks of Monti di Mola on one of the most exclusive islands. The Costa Smeralda was taken over by Sheraton (1994), then absorbed by Starwood, which in turn in 2003 sold it to the billionaire, Tom Barrack, USA citizen of Lebanese origin who has spent his hand to the emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Kalifa al-Thani, one of the richest men on the planet, through the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding. This was made official in mid-April 2012.