Turismo Torino e Provincia Convention Bureau is the ideal source to organize your events in the Northern Italian city. Set up in 2010, this non-profit joint consortium promotes Torino as a tourist and conference destination, offering their services free of charge to any national or international association and event’s organiser. Now that the events are restarting safely, we take the opportunity to address some questions to the General Manager, Marcella Gaspardone, about the direction of the city in the recovery of the pandemic.
1) How is your destination containing this whole situation in order to get back on track? What are the main measures on the table?
There are several measures taken by the local institutions to support leisure and MICE sectors. For example, Regione Piemonte (Piedmont Region) encourages holidays in our land with a special voucher you can use for booking the accommodation for your stay and for making the most of our gift: 2 nights out of 3 are free of charge! The Municipality of Torino has abolished the tourist tax and the tax on the occupation of public land in order to support restaurants and bars to set up their curfews. In addition, there are many marketing campaigns on national media in order to encourage Italians to choose national destinations.
2) What has been the impact for your customers and partners, such as hotels, venues or restaurants, as far as you can tell?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the meetings industry is heavy. In Italy, the sector has had a 76% loss. 69.7% of conferences and events have been cancelled (especially the international events), 16.9% deferred until 2021 and only 13.4% postponed to a date later this year. In Torino is quite the same. Speaking about the hotel sector, between January and August, Torino lost 55% of room occupancy, overnight stays recorded a negative balance of 1.4 million and in October it will be difficult to exceed 30%.
3) What will be your top priority when resuming activities? What are the main targets?
The main targets still remain the associations. We are working on national bids at the moment and only when the emergency is over, we’ll come back on working on international events.
4) How concerned are you about the crisis in international aviation and the volume of air routes to Italy and Piedmont?
The international Airport of Torino will close 2020 with less than two million passengers, half of those transported in 2019. This is due to the severe reduction of the connections to international destinations and partially of the domestic flights.
5) How do you see the future of events in Torino after this pandemic, especially with the advent of virtual events and hybrid meetings?
It is clear that the meeting industry has been strongly affected by the effects of COVID-19. Nowadays the majority of meetings and conferences has been redesigned as virtual and hybrid events because is the best alternative in these challenging times, but I think they can’t replace face-to-face events in the furure. People need face-to-face interactions and you can better keep your audience engaged with live events. Last but not least, attending an event is an experience: face-to-face events play upon a number of senses: sight, touch, even smell. Yet, it is difficult to imagine the future of the sector in Torino, much depends on how long the pandemic will stop the normal activities. We’ll see at the end.
Caption: Marcella Gaspardone - MICE Manager at Turismo e Provincia Convention Bureau
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