Living Italy: Experience-Based Tourism

Experience-based tourism: why settle for seeing Italy, when you could live it?

A rising travel trend

Tourism and travel keep changing their main characters as well as society, since the beginning of human civilization. This unstoppable evolution led to the creation of strategies, services and new approaches to our environmental and cultural heritage that put the focus on the so-called experience-based travel, as shown by a TripAdvisor survey. The word ‘experience’ turned the entire sector into something completely different from the past, given that people who travel now look for unique activities and full immersion in the place they are visiting.

Thus, it’s no longer a matter of seeing monuments, museums, beautiful landscapes, but it’s rather about feeling emotions, the involvement of multiple senses and exclusiveness, in order to fully enjoy the traditions and the culture of that specific area. The idea is that this new kind of tourist has to take part with all the five senses to the life of the locals, and to really enter the atmosphere of the place they choose.

This kind of approach may be due to the technological innovations which stimulate people to go beyond an ordinary trip or sightseeing, and to touch with their own hands what anyone could only see by surfing the internet.

An intangible souvenir: the strong emotional impact

What makes a country distinctive is its history, traditions and hence people themselves, their activities and their language, an actual human heritage made up of people with their customs and habits, away from the most crowded itineraries.

This kind of tourist resource is priceless, it is a form of close interaction between different cultures through which local people and travelers can share experiences and activities, learning something from each other. The more the firms have the ability to include and empower tourists to get an active role, the more these will remember their trip and the emotions felt.

We should remember that Italy is not only a sterile vessel filled with works of art and static monuments, the value of this country goes far beyond this. A foreign visitor who joins a harvest in Tuscany, tries to fish together with a cheerful fisherman in Positano, attends a cooking class with the chef of the hotel, has a picnic on Sunday morning among the olive groves in Puglia or learns how to make a piadina in Emilia-Romagna will certainly remember it when he comes back home and he will have a lot more to tell about the trip.

A vineyard in Piedmont

Some helpful startup companies

Concerning experience-based tourism abroad, the reference point is Viator, but also some young Italian entrepreneurs are moving successfully: the two startups on the rise are Guide Me Right and ItalyXP.

The idea underlying Guide Me Right is really innovative: the website connects travelers interested in Italy with the locals, which the startup defines as ‘local friends’, each one with a degree of specialization and tariffs depending on the chosen activity. Similarly, ItalyXP is a marketplace specialized in the promotion and commercialization of  unusual tourist services. You can search them by destination or type of activity and get a reservation directly from the site without signing in.

Handmade tagliatelle

A model of travel which gives priority to personal relationships, to the dialogue between different lifestyles and to mutual cultural contacts is certainly welcome in order to move towards a more sustainable kind of tourism with low impact on the environment, and to boost the economy involving local communities in this virtuous process.