30 September 2013

Towards a model of touristic excellence in Scicli (Sicily)

Flier for the event

Verso un modello di eccellenza turistica a Scicli (Towards a model of touristic excellence in Scicli) 

Workshop, Scicli (Sicily) 12 September 2013


Scicli is a city in the Province of Ragusa located in the southeast of Sicily (the lower tip of the island), which, along with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. 

Sicily – and Southern Italy in general - suffers quite a lot from the mismanagement of cultural and heritage sites, and of the funds destined for their promotion and preservation, but Scicli has shown how this trend can be reversed. In the past 15 years or so it has undergone a “renaissance” or cultural rebirth, thanks to a renewed interest in the promotion of local cultural heritage for tourism. Like the ripples generated by throwing a pebble into a lake, the organized walking tours of renown scholar Paolo Nifosì lead to more: first came televised reports on nationally broadcast cultural programs, then Scicli became a television set for a popular TV series. Later it received funding, which was employed to secure the churches, it was listed as World Heritage Site, and many buildings in the historical center were restored to their former glory. This lead to the opening of world-class restaurants, b&b, and of an Albergo Diffuso (an innovative concept of hospitality devised in Italy in the Eighties as a means of reviving small, historic Italian towns and villages). Barocco Slow Coast was established to promote “slow tourism” through a series of permanent itineraries linking together Baroque towns, the coastal area, and protected sites so that this part of southeastern Sicily can be visited by non-motorized means of transport (foot, bicycle, horse, kayak). 

Much however remains to be done, so this workshop was organized with the intent of exploring what ICT has to offer to creative heritage, how to employ new services for the benefit of the community, and how to valorize the lesser-known heritage of the area. Tourism generates jobs and income, boosting the local economy, generally improving the way of life of the local population. Representatives from local and national government agencies, universities, local business owners took part in the debate. 

The workshop was subdivided into three parts. The presentations of the first session aimed at highlighting the internationalization aspects of cultural and industrial tourism, at how to find equilibrium between tourism and preservation of cultural heritage, and at how to promote responsible and sustainable tourism. The scope of the CreativeCH project, presented by Prof. Franco Niccolucci with a particular emphasis on the use of innovative technologies to promote cultural heritage, fit perfectly in this scenario. There are many points in common between our objectives and those of the Scicli administration. In the next part of the debate, local and regional perspectives concerning cultural and industrial tourism were proposed. Lastly, the third session was dedicated to the presentation of best practices: representatives from local industries and business talked about their successful experiences in the valorization of the available natural and cultural resources. Difficulties encountered, peculiarities and assets were identified in order to put together a proposal for an integrated project of excellence in the field of touristic hospitality, which can be applied to the entire region.




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