The choice of the DMO’s name represents the synthesis of the promotion strategy that is the subject of the proposal, turning existing critical issues into opportunities: Tuscia is a region that deserves to be discovered because it still represents a true secret kept within our country. Sandwiched between territories that are already structured in terms of tourism (Rome, Umbria and Tuscany), Tuscia and the Tiber Valley are areas that are struggling to take off from an attractiveness point of view: Civita di Bagnoregio itself, the jewel in the crown of Lazio’s tourist offer, is included in a circuit that sees Orvieto and Rome as stages preceding and following Civita, without bringing a real spin-off to the surrounding area, with a low average stay, often reduced to a few hours. From these and other considerations, a design SWOT Analysis was developed, detailed in Section 6. This process of unexpected discovery, which is the emotional key to the experience that will be offered to the visitor by the territory, will be the result of the synergistic integration between the two key aspects of the DMO: a solid partnership structure and the focus on the key themes around which to build the image and narrative of the territory. From this point of view, the public partnership has all the characteristics for the success of the project, since it includes numerous municipalities that fall within the territory being promoted and enhanced (Bagnoregio, with Civita di Bagnoregio, a UNESCO candidate, Vitorchiano, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Celleno, Castiglione in Teverina, Graffignano and Bolsena). At the same time, numerous private entities are part of the DMO, which, in full consistency with the objectives, will actively contribute to the definition of strategies and their transposition into an operational key by covering all possible activities related to the enhancement of the territory. The territory involved by the constituting DMO encompasses in a fairly circumscribed space a series of sites that, if properly connected through an organic and coordinated narrative and promoted with a recognizable brand, supported by an appropriate territorial marketing strategy, will attract the most attentive and sensitive segments of national and international travelers to an innovative tourism proposal, centered on culture and the discovery of local identities and respectful of the environment.
Consistent with the aims of the Notice, “Discover Tuscia. The secret of Italy” is a DMO that aims to achieve the following specific objectives:
– To constitute an integrated tourism system, capable of involving all local public and private actors active in the promotion of the territory between the two areas (Tuscia and Tiber Valley) and in particular in the territories of the municipalities of Bagnoregio, Bolsena, Graffignano, Celleno, Vitorchiano and Castiglione in Teverina;
– Combine the improvement and qualification of existing tourism products (e.g., the tour packages offered by the Tour Operator Tuscia Incantata, a partner of the DMO), with the creation of a new, broader and more structured offer (new routes narrated in the territory), also thanks to the thematic integration between the two
territorial areas identified (Tuscia and Tiber Valley) and the two different clusters (1. Cultural and Identity Tourism – 2. Outdoor Tourism);
– increase the number of arrivals and presences, through an average stay that will be between 3 and 6 days, deseasonalizing the presences and increasing the quality of flows with a communication campaign that aims to attract a medium-high target tourism, both in terms of cultural interests and spending potential;
– expand the catchment area reached by the brand communication, also thanks to the brand extension of Civita di Bagnoregio, and through ways able to be visible in strategic places and effective with respect to international markets with the participation in international fairs and targeted communication campaigns;
– develop international tour operator collaborations, further increasing the internationalization share, both through trade fairs and by establishing strategic partnership networks with European tourism promotion and communication agencies, already contacted in the planning stage;
Description of intervention activities
The activities on which the DMO will focus can be traced to three main directions, with more than 50 percent of the activities carried out in the first half of the year (Evaluation Criterion 2): A1. Creation, launch and communication of the brand “Discover Tuscia. The secret of Italy” (173,528.00€) / M1 – M5 (Creation and launch) / M6 – M17 (Communication) It is necessary to focus on identity aspects of the territory on which to build the image to be proposed to visitors. In this regard, the strategy adopted by the established DMO aims to focus on a few themes, which are clearly identified and through a consistent path are able to create brand equity. The idea the brand will focus on is precisely the link between the discovery of an unknown territory and the innermost secrets it holds. A strong and recognizable brand is the basis for being able to establish an integrated tourism system, capable of involving all local public and private players (Objective j – Evaluation Criterion 6) in order to realize a successful tourism offer and communicate it in a coherent and organic way, especially at the international level. Starting from this general strategy, specific actions will be developed and implemented having as a frame of reference two different clusters “identity cultural tourism” and “outdoor tourism.” The construction and communication of this identity will require the investment of a priority portion of the resources invested in the project. Thus, in fact, it will be possible to expand the pool reached by brand communication (Objective f – Evaluation Criterion 6) also through ways that can be visible in strategic and effective locations with respect to international markets (Objective g – Evaluation Criterion 5). To achieve the objectives related to this activity, the following actions will be put in place: logo creation and brand building; public relations communication campaign (TV, radio, trade magazines); participation in events/fairs to launch destination; advertising campaign (airports, stations). With respect to the first target group of tourists identified (as better described in the box on clusters), which by characteristics will tend to prioritize the choice of their tourist destination based on the suggestions of travel agents, communication will be mainly oriented towards participation in international trade fairs in the industry, this will allow the development of international tour operator collaborations (Objective g – Evaluation Criterion 5) further increasing the internationalization share (Objective e – Evaluation Criterion 5). For the second target, on the other hand, the most appropriate messages and media will have to be identified to reach and inform people who travel independently that this tourist destination exists and what it can actually offer in relation to their expectations. For these travelers, who will have to discover the existence of the destination and reach it to find out its “secret,” there will have to be targeted and consistent communication. To this end, the DMO will focus on communication tools that are both innovative and original, especially social media Instagram (Objective h – Evaluation Criterion 6). A2. Definition and promotion of the territory’s “narrated” routes (26,336.00) / (M1-M3) These activities will aim to create the actual tourist destination and promote the territory’s sites of interest and historical, artistic and cultural emergencies through the communication of their characteristics and their inclusion in thematic itineraries guided by a clear and innovative narrative framework. Itineraries will be constructed that translate the tourism brand into a “product” by integrating existing proposals with new ideas that will be developed according to the DMO’s objectives. Specifically, the itineraries will be designed to unveil the secrets guarded by this area and centered on the three reference themes of “mystery,” “mystic-religious,” and “minor history.” The careful construction of the itineraries makes it possible to combine the improvement and qualification of existing tourism products (Objective a – Evaluation Criterion 6), with the creation of a new, broader and more structured offer (Objective b – Evaluation Criterion 5), also thanks to the thematic integration between the two identified territorial areas (Tuscia and Tiber Valley) and the two different clusters (Objective c – Evaluation Criterion 6). The identification of specific targets, of a broad size and geographic origin, and the targeted offer towards them will make it possible to increase the number of arrivals and presences, through an average stay that will be between 3 and 6 days (Objective d – Evaluation Criterion 3), with particular attention to the low season: in fact, the itineraries will be structured to be promoted and implemented in the low season (Objective b – Evaluation Criterion 1). The proposal of a more attentive and conscious tourist model, which aims at staying in the place to grasp its spirit, tradition and history will have as a direct consequence an enhancement of the area, its villages and places of interest and a greater knowledge of local culture. A.3 Implementation of the specific actions at the local level (55,781.80) / (M1-M18) Fundamental will be, for the strengthening of the brand identity, a capacity of the territory to welcome visitors and make itself an active part of the process of knowledge that the territory will be able to reveal to those who want to discover its secrets. To this end, the project includes organizing opportunities for local community participation and training for the younger generation in sharing the area’s tourism development model. At the same time, there is an effective communication of the tourism product, of a more advertising and promotional type in the area (e.g., billboards, popular brochures for tourist offices etc.), aimed directly at the identified targets. In the implementation of the actions, as will be indicated in Section 6 below, special care will be given to the quality of the planned initiatives, including paying attention in the identification of sites and construction of routes to their accessibility, both for groups and individual visitors with special needs. In order to create greater awareness in the area with respect to the DMO’s activities and a more widespread awareness of brand identity and welcoming tourists, public events will be held to present and discuss the project, and internships reserved for young people residing in the DMO’s municipalities will be activated. These actions, which will be detailed in Section 6, will make it possible to create area-wide sharing to promote sustainable tourism that is aware of the value of places and respectful of local culture and environment.
Description of the spatial scope of the territorial areas affected by the project
The project “Discover Tuscia. The secret of Italy,” embraces two territorial areas as defined in the Notice: – Tuscia and Maremma Laziale, represented in the partnership by the municipalities of Bagnoregio, Bolsena, Vitorchiano and Celleno, as well as private partners operating on S. Angelo di Roccalvecce, the Land of Fairy Tales, and Roccalvecce. – Tiber Valley, represented in the partnership by the municipalities of Castiglione in Teverina and Graffignano. All of the municipalities involved, in the two areas, are located in the province of Viterbo, a “predominantly rural” area according to the definition of rurality proposed by the OECD, fifth nationally in terms of level of rurality, with a rural population share far above all other Latium provinces and neighboring provinces. Even the counter-urbanization phenomena, related to the proximity to Rome, which have developed since the late 1970s, have not resulted in substantial changes in the demographic pattern and in the settlement of productive and commercial activities. This occurred only partially and limitedly in the southern territories closer to the capital and in the eastern territories better served by the infrastructure network. While this situation has conditioned the economic dynamics of the targeted areas, limiting their industrial and entrepreneurial development, it has also limited population growth and favored the preservation of historical and environmental landscapes, even close to population centers that have maintained, especially in their original cores, their urban and social characteristics. Added to this is the presence of places of great artistic and cultural interest, first and foremost the capital city, and a wealth and diversity of natural and environmental resources. Both areas thus express enormous attractive potential. A potential that, at the moment, is largely unexpressed and, in any case, limited to a few sites, think of Civita di Bagnoregio, which, despite a considerable growth in visitors in recent years and a good notoriety at the national and international level, fails to exert sufficient traction to connote the area and, consequently, to make the neighboring territories a destination in which to spend more than a few hours or, at most, a weekend. It follows that in the territories covered by the DMO “Discover Tuscia. The Secret of Italy”, initiatives for the promotion and enhancement of territorial specificities such as the one proposed here review a very relevant interest of a strategic nature. The areas targeted are characterized by spatial continuity and a number of features that enable homogeneous and focused action. Both areas have, according to the Latium Region’s 2020/2022 three-year tourism plan, a stable tourism ratio, characterized by few presences, which nevertheless have a high international incidence due to specific tourist attractors that have been able to attract these types of flows. Both areas are also characterized by a lower incidence of overnight stays (1-2 nights) with average stays lower than the regional average. In this context, among the territories included in the areas, there are differences in the level of preparation for tourist reception. Bagnoregio, with the now-famous Civita di Bagnoregio, whose cultural landscape is a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status, is now an established tourist destination: However, the need to preserve the place from the mass tourist footprint and the evidence of a very low average stay (often hit-and-run, on a route that sees Orvieto and Rome as preceding or following destinations) calls for a revision of the marketing strategy, aimed at deseasonalization and increasing the average stay, as well as a revision of the territorial development strategy, which allows for a more effective synergy with neighboring municipalities. It is precisely with this in mind that the framework agreement between the Municipality of Bagnoregio and Bolsena, signed in April 2021, was born, aimed at maximizing mutual excellence: unlike all the other municipalities in the partnership, in fact, Bolsena has a significantly more developed supply of beds for tourist reception (approx. 70 facilities). Vitorchiano has been singled out among “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” by the association of the same name, beginning to structure its tourism affirmation strategy. The Municipality of Celleno, on the other hand, has recently started its own tourism development thanks to the “Ghost Village,” represented by the so-called “Celleno Vecchia,” an uninhabited hamlet subject to recent renovations and consolidations, while the Fairy Tale Country, represented by the ACAS Association, intellectual owner of the Fairy Tale Murals, is experiencing a growing interest, with attendance during weekends of up to 2,000 people. The villages in the Tiber Valley area (Castiglione in Teverina, Graffignano) currently do not register significant tourist flows and need to start their own promotion strategy. In order to respond effectively to the potential tourism demand expressed by the two target visitor segments identified by the project and better described in point 6, given the characteristics of the territorial contexts just described, it is necessary to prepare territorial marketing strategies that manage to combine the specificities of the two areas, which are in any case contiguous at the territorial level, through the creation of a quality tourism product and its effective communication, both in reaching the targets and in its ability to convey the meaning and distinctive message of the tourism destination. With respect to the communication action of the areas, the strategy will be structured two levels, clearly distinguishing the brand communication “Discover Tuscia. The secret of Italy,” which pertains to public relations, from that intended to inform the identified targets. The communication of scopes coincides with brand communication, which is definitely the key point of the whole operation. In fact, the main effort of the DMO will have to be to characterize the destination, starting from the fact that it is too weak an area to compete on the same level with the already well-known neighboring destinations (Tuscany, Umbria, Rome). Not surprisingly, the destination’s name has its strength in the word “secret,” reinforced by the idea of the verb “discover,” and can leverage the pull of a powerful brand like “Italy.” Building on these concepts, communication will have to be carefully studied so that the real weak point, represented.
Description of the cluster or clusters
There was a time in our history. When the sacred dwelt in us and we dwelt in it: and woods and glades, rivers and lakes, paths and roads, temples and churches, towns and villages all around us throbbed with life and promise. Religion and mystery. When every journey was a pilgrimage: the flesh toiled mapping out its itinerary, while the spirit fed on it. Then modernity and progress dissolved the ancient pact: they secularized the world. Thus the landscape gained a new beauty: it became aesthetic. Fascinating but profane. Orphan of a beyond. And we turned into tourist-consumers. Increasingly hurried and distracted. In its innermost folds, however, the landscape still holds this lost treasure: a line, a gesture of hills can still entrust us, with their secret fascination, a precious message of humanity. And precisely this can be the added value of slow travel today: rediscovering in the places of worship, in the mystery of certain local traditions, in the ineffable quality of the light and urban spaces of our minor villages, together with the soul of the wayfarer-pilgrim of old, the strength of his spiritual gaze. The introductory words of the narrative designed for the itineraries to be included in the clusters, which is one of the major innovative aspects of our project, are the premise of the description of the clusters covered by the project: – Identity cultural tourism, with special focus on the enjoyment of villages and religious tourism. All the municipalities involved in the target areas fall under the definition of hamlets. The Municipality of Vitorchiano is also included within the network of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. Religious tourism, on the other hand, is one of the strengths of the project in many ways. First and foremost, direct participation in the DMO of the Diocese of Viterbo, which will provide access to places of worship of interest, not normally accessible to the public, to be included as stops on the itineraries developed under the project. Second, the participation of the Via Francigena Association in Tuscia and the role that the Via Francigena will play in the content developed by the brand strategy. Finally, all municipalities have religious monuments among their points of interest: in particular, Bagnoregio with St. Bonaventure and Bolsena with St. Christine represent important junctions in the history of Christianity. – Outdoor tourism, with emphasis on hiking and ecotourism. All members of the constituent DMO share the need for an approach to tourism promotion that makes sustainability and “slowness” a building block of its offerings. As an example, Tuscia Incantata is the first tour operator in the area to apply carbon offsetting, replanting trees to offset travel-related CO2 emissions.All members of the constituent DMO share the need for an approach to tourism promotion that makes sustainability and “slowness” a building block of its offerings. This vision will be integrated into all actions of the project, which not surprisingly is located in a purely rural area, where wide spaces allow for numerous outdoor activities. Not only that: many of the villages involved in the project are connected by CAI trails (among the many are the Sentiero dei Castelli e delle Fiabe, which connects the villages of Roccalvecce and S. Angelo with Celleno and Graffignano, as well as the footpath that connects Celleno and Vitorchiano). Both in the itineraries included in the packages and in the offer for independent travelers (which represent the two main target groups of our proposal, as described in more detail in a moment) will be included proposals that will allow travelers to enjoy the paths, in combination with sports or food and wine experiential activities. The choice of the two clusters was made not only in deference to territorial specificities, but also according to the target groups of visitors the project aims to attract, both internationally and nationally. This also came about as a result of discussions with the two German and Catalan tourism communication agencies that have expressed interest in the project with external supporters (see attachments), with whom a preliminary draft of customer segmentation was carried out, to be further explored during the first project action of defining the brand strategy. The two main targets of the territorial proposal are distinguishable not so much by their interests with respect to the content of the tourism experience as by the way it is enjoyed. A first group (Target 1) consists of those domestic and international travelers who, due to personal tastes and socio-demographic characteristics, express a preference for structured “packages” based on the organization of predefined itineraries and related services (overnight stays, meals, guides, …). Itineraries developed by the tour operator Tuscia Incantata will be directed to them. The second group (Target 2) is represented by domestic and international travelers who prefer to build the vacation themselves, acquiring all the necessary information and then choosing sites to visit and places to eat and sleep. Both targets, by their very connotation, are represented by both domestic and international travelers, and in order to take advantage of the tourism proposal that will be built, they will have to plan to stay in the area for at least three days. With respect to Target 2, no intervention on the tourism product is necessary, since the itinerary, which will be defined independently by the visitors, will benefit from the interventions carried out to implement the itineraries intended for Target 1. The strategy adopted suggests not targeting the other clusters provided in the Notice, which, in addition to being unattractive to the target segments, are trivial, uncharacteristic and do not lend themselves to building an effective storytelling with respect to the “secret” that is evoked in the DMO’s brand. It can be seen that the interventions were designed on the basis of a rigorous matrix of the logical framework: from the analysis of the needs and the territorial context, conducted with the contribution of Prof. Silvio Franco, future project coordinator for DEIM UNITUS, DM of the project, municipal administrations and European tourism communication agencies, the project objectives were defined, consistent with the requirements of the notice. According to the goals, the activities needed to achieve them were planned.