2023 was a good year for tourism in the Sicily region. The overall numbers of national and international arrivals recorded 15 million. A result that led the Region to be elected, for last year, queen of Italian tourist destinations. Strengthened by this, Sicily returns to the spaces of the BIT in Milan with a stand of great visual and emotional impact, designed by the internal staff of the Region’s Tourism Department, measuring 1015 m2 characterized by large LED walls and mirrored surfaces: a large marketplace made available to visitors to participate in appointments, meetings and events that will highlight the attractions of a constantly evolving territory, full of stimuli, products and naturalistic wonders that have underlined its success for years. There will be 62 workstations available, occupied by 31 agencies and tour operators, 29 accommodation facilities and 2 restaurants.

Present at the stand were the president of the Sicilian Region Renato Schifani and the tourism councilor Elvira Amata, who were involved in a press conference on Monday 5 February at 12:00 in which the important results, in terms of arrivals and overnight stays, achieved in the course of 2023, but also the new objectives set by the Sicilian Region, aimed at encouraging the lengthening of the high season, motivating the attention of new targets, in search of alternative stimuli to just the sea.

The driving force for achieving these objectives, as councilor Amata himself suggests: “what remains is the diversification of the offer which passes through the implementation of root tourism – to which 2024 will be dedicated – attention to sustainability, the development of film tourism, of experiential tourism, slow tourism, sporting and outdoor activities because in this sense Sicily is, by its nature, a heterogeneous, complex destination, incredibly rich from a cultural, artistic, food and wine, naturalistic, historical and archaeological point of view”.

A Region that presents itself at the BIT this year with all the strength and beauty of a product that is sea and land, small villages and large cities, which is a film set (The White Lotus, I Florio, Taormina Film Festival) but also ancestral culture, land to return to.
Roots tourism for Sicily plays, in fact, a crucial role and has enormous potential, as Amata herself underlines: “Roots tourism is based on the special bond between Italians abroad and the places of their origins, and offers the opportunity to return to visit and experience the spaces, towns and landscapes of one’s ancestors, rediscovering intimate links with the culture and history of our Region and we will be committed to this throughout 2024”. The potential of this tourism segment is extraordinary: just think of its reference catchment area, which amounts to around 60 million people and the forecast of an annual expenditure of around 8 billion euros.

Another fundamental tool for the process of lengthening seasonality that the Region has embraced for some years now is culture: Sicily welcomes 7 UNESCO Heritage sites in its territory: the Valley of the Temples, the Baroque of the Val di Noto, the Arab-Norman itinerary of Palermo, Monreale and Cefalù and the Aeolian Islands. “To these we cannot fail to add the artistic and cultural heritage brought to us by the network of theaters and opera-symphonic foundations in our region – the councilor highlights – the great events such as the TaoBuk of Taormina, now in its fourteenth edition, the Sicilia Jazz Festival, the Taormina Film Festival. Not only that, we cannot fail to mention the great value of La Via dei Tesori and the dramaturgical representation of Dante’s Inferno which has been held for years in the summer at the Gole di Alcantara”.
Remaining in the cultural field, “Palermo Liberty. has had and is having a great following. The Golden Age”, the beautiful exhibition, which will last throughout May 2024 at Palazzo Sant’Elia, dedicated to the art, culture and society of the very happy Palermo: an exhibition itinerary of 500 works from 1897 to 1923 which recounts the thousand facets and the many protagonists of a unique season.

At the Region’s stand, for the first time, both the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy in Sicily will be present, an organization that deals with safeguarding, conserving, protecting and promoting the artistic and cultural heritage of 24 villages belonging to the 9 provinces of the island, that the Regional Route of Sicilian Ceramics, i.e. the main regional ceramic cities, united to disseminate and, at the same time, protect one of the oldest local arts.

At Bit 2024, the reopening, after 30 years, of the Arab-Norman Castle of Taormina, known as Monte Tauro Castle or Saracen Castle, an imposing construction located on the rock of Monte Tauro, at a height of 397 metres, will also be announced. Thanks to this elevated position, it is also called the Castle of the Four Panoramas since from its interior it is possible to admire a 365° panorama which, from the Ionian side, extends north to the Strait of Messina and south to the valley of the Alcantara river and on the slopes of Etna.
“Our land – concludes councilor Amata – has immense potential not only linked to the seaside product, which undoubtedly remains our summer core business. The strength, value, intensity and quality of our artistic and cultural initiatives, of our sites, of naturalistic experiences, the great heritage of our land must be constantly promoted and enhanced by all the stakeholders of the regional tourism sector in order to, with the support of the Region, guarantee a significant boost to the Sicily brand by making it live 12 months a year”.

Comments are closed.