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Sports tourism in Italy: a resource to be exploited to restart.


Escursionisti Nordic Walking Alessandria sulla Big Bench
Big Bench in Ricaldone

Sports tourism as a resource for the recovery from this pandemic. How many of you had thought of this resource? There is talk of two sectors (sport and tourism) that have been hit hard by the pandemic and continue to suffer, despite the reopening of these days. "According to data from the Tourism Observatory, (before the pandemic hit us ed) the turnover of this activity is estimated at 6.3 billion euros with over 10 million trips and over 60 million overnight stays in Italian accommodation facilities . 1.5 billion euro is spent in Italy for water sports such as sailing, canoeing and diving, while 1 out of 4 Italians choose their holiday destination also because of the sports offer. Enthusiasts reach certain locations in order to practice the their favorite sport. "


These are the info I found on the net. Now it is almost zero, but if you think about it, the two resources combined are an excellent fuel for our restart. Italy presents itself as one of the most important destinations from a tourist point of view, so much so that this sector ceases 15% of our GDP. Attracting sportsmen who practice activities and at the same time visit places, becomes a useful driving force for an economy that must necessarily revive. Golf has been following this trend for years, with excellent results. The Piedmont Region has dedicated several resources, in previous years, to promote the territory with sporting activities.


Many of you will think that to promote this resource there is a need for investments, funds, European tenders. My advice is that many times a little imagination is enough. There is no need for big attractions, competitions, events, announcements and big studies. An activity such as Nordic walking with its sport walking technique lends itself well to promoting the area. Italians practice Nordic walking for its technique, to lose weight, but few think that this activity can be used for tourism and as a promotion of the territory. We, in unsuspected times, have developed a project that goes in that direction. The creation of a "Monferrato Card" (https://www.nordicwalkingalessandria.info/monferrato-card), a letter of intent between hospitality operators and Nordic walking enthusiasts to get to know the area. Our idea is simple: get together to make yourself known. Local minor museums, wineries (private and social), farmhouses that have a path to follow in the vicinity, have been contacted by us and included in this project. Users of this card (sports tourists) can travel the km. of the paths selected by us and go to the reference structure to have the distance traveled validated. Upon completion of the card, the tourist can choose a "facility" offered and made available by the participants in the project. A simple idea, not original as we know similar initiatives in all sectors, but a tool that can certainly be used to unite forces and restart.


The strengths of this project even in pandemic periods like the current one: outdoor activities with an infinitesimal percentage of contagion. Healthy and sporting activity, which can be frequented by everyone even by non-sportsmen and above all knowledge of the territory. Getting to know the area on foot (slowly) has significant advantages over faster sports tourism. Cycling is an excellent resource but it is a resource that requires large spaces. To give you an example: Venice Turin (Fri-To) is a tourist corridor of about 500 km. Cyclists can cover it in a week but also in three days (a long weekend), it depends on the training. The accommodation facilities, the Local Administrations that adhere to this project have the only hope of being a stop on this tour. While, walk on a path of 10 km. it means observing, listening, getting to know the territory in its peculiarities and beauties and not seeing it in passing.


Walking the trails does not require special equipment. The beneficial effects on our body are innumerable and are the same as any other physical activity. The calorie consumption of a walk is the same as that of a run. This is demonstrated by the various reports that I have available and that I will publish later in this article. The only difference is the time: to travel 10 km. on foot it takes about 2 hours and consumes from 700 to 800 kcal. If I did the same running route it would take half the time but with the same kcal. consumed. In fact, there would be a further difference between running and walking: running I would stress the stress of my entire physical structure from the back, to the ligaments, to the lower limbs. With the walk no. My grandfather always said to me: "Those who go slowly go healthy and go far, those who go strong go to death". Evaluate for yourself whether this statement is not true in this context.

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