The International Food and Wine Tourism Exchange stops off at the Mole Antonelliana

Business, tourism, food and wine. The return of  BITEG: The International Food and Wine Tourism Exchange today launches its 2012 edition and, after Serralunga d’Alba (Cuneo), Canelli (Asti) and Bosco Marengo (Alessandria), it’s now Turin’s turn to host the most important Italian event of the sector. Welcomed in the prestigious setting of the Teatro Regio (Royal Theatre), 200 operators specialised in the sale of food and wine tourism packages will have their base in Piedmont until 6 May: more than 100 national sellers, from the various regions, and 90 Italian and foreign buyers.

The set-up has already been tried and tested with the success of the “B2B” workshop, with direct and personal meetings between offer and demand.

The new aspects of this BITEG edition include the participation for the first time of China, Argentina and Russia (alongside other foreign buyers from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Poland, Japan, Canada and USA), making a total of 19 foreign visiting countries. BITEG is organised by the Piedmont Region in collaboration with Sviluppo Piemonte Turismo.

Another partner for the event is Turismo Torino e Provincia, together with the other local tourist agencies of Alessandria, Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Langhe and Roero, Novara, Vercelli and Distretto Laghi, all eductour protagonists of the region geared towards the operators and press of the sector coming for the event. In the group of 16 journalists, for the first time, there are several acclaimed flood bloggers from the USA, UK and Denmark.

The 2012 edition of Biteg will also take place in collaboration with its highly-valued partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Turin, which boosts the area’s food and wine excellence (with a particular focus on the 149 “Masters of Taste”, chosen together with Slow Food and the “TORINO DOC” oenological selection) during the gala evening at the Museum of the Italian Risorgimento. An excellent location to celebrate once again, just a few months after the festivities for the 150 years of Italian unification, that Italian style which is so much loved and sought-after all over the world. Not only for its food but also for its look. All guests are invited to wear the symbolic colours of our country: evening dress code: strictly green, white and red!

“This is BITEG’s 5th year in Piedmont and from one edition to the next, we have witnessed the growth not only of the event, but also its impact in terms of business – stated Alberto Cirio, member of the Region’s Tourism Authority – Last year, the two workshop days produced more than 2500 agreements, with an average of 22 contacts per head and an increase of 10%. This year, to meet the request of our operators, we have also lengthened the duration of the event by several hours, in order to allow businesses more time. Biteg, to sum up, is a crucial propeller of a sector which continued to grow in 2011, generating turnover and jobs especially for young people. The choice of the Piedmont region to treat tourism as if it were a business is bearing its fruits for both our region and for the economy of the country”.

A business prized for its figures and for the evaluation of both tourists and operators: in particular Japan is providing recognition also for Piedmont’s commitment to promoting, in recent years, tourism “for all” with the Turismabile project: one of the international buyers attending BITEG, the Japanese Big Apple Corporation of Tokyo, has in fact decided to donate a wheelchair to the Piedmont region, for the second time running, following the previous one received last autumn in occasion of the TTI of Rimini.

DATA ON FOOD AND WINE TOURISM

Food and wine tourists in Italy make up 5% of total tourists, a quota which rises to 7% when taking the foreign market alone. France, USA, United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the countries which have the greatest number of “gourmand tourists”, but in the last few years, the quota of Italians going on “taste holidays” has also doubled, with more than 3 million holidays in just the first 8 months of 2011.

Generally speaking, “quality eating and drinking” is vital for any kind of holiday, affirming its prime place in terms of holiday satisfaction. The food and wine sector, according to the data of the Yearly Report of the Observatory of Wine Tourism in Italy (Censis), generates a turnover from between 3 to 5 billion euro, with an average spending on food and wine tourism of approximately 193 euro, as opposed to 149 euro in 2003; and Piedmont is the Italian region with the highest number of quality producers, with 20% of the national total.

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