Tuscany is a great experiential tourism destination: its vineyards and wine culture only make travellers from all over the world come to enjoy the delicacy of the Tuscan winery art. But this magnificent region has a lot more to offer: with its green countryside landscape, its incredible cultural heritage, Tuscany has all the great ingredients to become one of the most appealing regions of the Italian peninsula.
What Tuscany means in terms of experiential travel offer
Last year Tuscany hit the record of 48 million presences, where last year’s growth was almost equally determined by the foreign component (+4% attendance, plus +6.2% arrivals) and the Italian (+3.6% attendance, +6.3% arrivals), according to Irpet data. On top of that, 2018 tourism arrivals are estimated to reach a +2% growth in 2018.
If Florence keeps being the leading attraction (Statista, 2016), other cities are starting to get the visibility they deserve: we are talking about the smaller cities such as Livorno, Arezzo, Prato and all the other small villages that are real pearls in the eyes of the tourist.
Tuscany’s tourism network is moving forward to address the new traveler’s need for experiences with the aim to match it with sustainable tourism and destination development. Councillor Ciuoffo commented about the World Tourism Event for UNESCO that is going to take place in Siena, Tuscany, in September 2018:
“Enhancing the value of the UNESCO sites means underlining the strength of the Tuscan tourism offer but also bringing together many operators who can then decline the meetings towards the development of new travel itineraries to promote an extraordinary heritage. We will then discuss many aspects related to the so-called sustainable tourism, the impact on cities and villages, where often the incidence is greater than in larger centers. We expect so many ideas and anticipations that we will then have to be good at interpreting and translating into government guidelines.”
However, Tuscany has so much that hasn’t been unveiled yet when it comes to experiential travel opportunities. Cradle of the Renaissance, Tuscany can easily become the best destination for travellers that seek a slow, deep, experiential travel to fully enjoy the extremely high- quality food as well as the unique local Tuscan culture.
Story living in Tuscany: experiential tourism examples are on the rise
When it comes to creating a highly successful experiential tourism offer, in-depth knowledge of the destination and the ability to give it the visibility it needs through clear storytelling are deeply connected. That is why locally based operators are the best suppliers when it comes to developing extremely local travel experiences.
We are not talking just about the must-see experiences such as joining the “Palio” – horse riding neighborhood contest – in Siena or visiting one of the most famous gelaterias in the world such as Gelateria Dondoli, in the small village of San Gimignano.
Operators based in Tuscany are exponentially developing greater experiential tourism and travel services to help tourists live this incredible region by diving completely in the political, cultural and geographical context in a very special and memorable way. An example of that is the stories developed by the Artès Project, who helps operators create, organize, and deliver “Stories” designed around a passion they share with the client and that will result in a unique and unrepeatable life experience. Here some examples of experiential tourism and travel stories operators in Tuscany have developed:
“Who will guard Michelangelo’s legacy?” is a “story to live” where Giovanni, history art expert and passionate tourist guide will guide the guests into Michelangelo’s life, works, the places he lived in and much more by pretending the guests are Michelangelo’s heirs that are there to demonstrate they are worth its fortune.
The knights who freed Val d’Orcia from Ghino di Tacco robberies, where Michele, expert cycling guide, becomes the lord of the village and together with his knights – families, tourists and enthusiasts who joined the experience – sets out in search of the treasures that the land has to offer while they valley is under attack by Ghino di Tacco, local theft.
Being part of something makes everyone tick; the more the experience involves all five senses, an expert local guide and a specific stage where the story can be performed, the more the traveller will feel the experience as part of his own story living.