Over 2500 business dealings with an average of twenty-two contacts per head – a 10% increase. The demand for direct encounters with producers is rising. Piedmont wins over Italian as well as foreign buyers. A 20% increase in programming is forecast.
Just one week after the doors closed on the 2011 edition of BITEG, the International Enogastronomic Tourism Exchange, that took place between the 19th and 20th of May on the slopes of Alessandria’s Upper Monferrato, feedback is now emerging from those foreign and Italian buyers who submitted the post-event evaluation questionnaire that was handed to all those taking part.
The two days of workshops, held at the prestigious Monumental Complex of Santa Croce in Bosco Marengo, was attended by more than 250 operators from Italy and sixteen foreign countries and resulted in over 2500 business dealings, with an average of twenty-two contacts per head, a 10% rise over the previous edition.
The opinions of operators appear to be extremely positive when it comes to the Exchange’s use of the “B2B” approach which, thanks to direct and personal encounters, retained a slant that was strongly business orientated. Not only did buyers express a desire to extend the business dealing days, but also to have more side shows, expressing a keen interest in the experimenting with regional cuisine workshops.
When it came to holiday packages, a great deal of attention was paid to the gastronomic itineraries and the discovery of the area by all of Italy, which proved particularly successful for Piedmont. Those who had never previously considered this destination stated they would be definitely including it in their future catalogues, whilst those who had already done so said they would increase the programming by at least 20%.
With regard to new trends, America in particular has requested tours involving direct encounters with producers of quality wines and local enogastronomic products. Japanese tourists, on the other hand, who, thanks to the number of Italian restaurants in Japan are first-rate connoisseurs of Italian cuisine, are no longer prepared to settle for a taste of Italy from afar and are prepared to travel to the places from where our stellar cuisine originates. As for Brazil, this year’s new arrival at BITEG, it has witnessed an explosion in the popularity of wine. A veritable discovery, for Brazilians, that excites them and spurs them on to learning more and travelling in search of wine routes.
BITEG was organised by the Region of Piedmont and the Piedmont Tourism Development body (SPT), with technical support from Tourist Trend, the creator of the Exchange twelve years ago in Ferrara and for which Piedmont acquired the trademark rights in 2008 through the SPT.
The 2011 edition received invaluable assistance from the Province of Alessandria and Alexala, the Tourist Board (ATL) of Alessandria and also witnessed the involvement of the Tourist Boards of Asti, Cuneo, Langhe and Roero, Biella, Turin and province, Novara, Vercelli and the District of the Lakes – all of whom staged a number of side shows and the Eductour about the area, intended for operators as well as the Italian and foreign press.
There was also interest and recognition in an exhibition of the work of the artist Diego Maria Gugliermetto who, thanks to the renewed partnership with the Galliano-Habitat Design Museum – as part of the DE.GU.CRE’ (Design, Taste, Creativity) project, adorned the stands of the Exchange with his works ironically prompted by “food-design” – from his tiny chocolate bar sofa to his “profiterole pouffes” in a ladies’ kisses, Chantilly cream and cream puff version.
“Biteg 2011 began with the official investiture of Piedmont, by Michela Vittoria Brambilla, the Minister for Tourism, as a National Enogastronomic Tourism Observatory and closed with this invaluable feedback from those who took part in the event”. These are the comments of Alberto Cirio, Regional Councillor for Tourism, who goes on to say: “We are ready to restart from here and to contribute, with our enogastronomic heritage and our areas of professionalism, to the growth of one of the soundest and most exciting sectors of world tourism that in Italy is worth €4 billion and welcomes 5 million people every year, a positive trend that is continuing in 2011”.