Roots tourism and agri-food: Calabria and Sicily focus on homemade


By John

The phenomenon of the promotion of Italian agri-food production abroad analyzed through interaction with emigrants and their descendants, eager to reconnect – during holidays – with their own or their family’s land of origin: this is the heart of the research report “Roots tourism and promotion of Italian agri-food products abroad. The focus on the olive oil sector” realized by Sonia Ferrari and Tiziana Nicotera of the University of Calabria (with Milena Verrascina, Barbara Zanetti, Anna lo Presti of the University of Turin and Gabriella Lo Feudo of the Council for Agricultural Research) was presented in the Cannizzaro Hall of the Rectorate.

The focus

The study, inserted in the context of the celebrations ofYear of Roots Tourism announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, analyzes the relationship between the new strategies for the international promotion of Italian agri-food products with particular attention to the olive and oil sector, and the role of root tourism in order to enhance and market Italian excellence abroad. During the presentation, organized byUniversity with the Messina Tourism Bureau Consortium and the Metropolitan City and introduced by Carlo Vermiglio coordinator of the degree course in Business Economics, the close interconnection between the tourism sector and food and wine emerged (think of the various segments of food and wine such as wine tourism and oil tourism), linked above all to the traditional local food products that local tourists buy not only for the quality but also for the strong connection with the lands of origin that those flavors contain. “The combination of local culture, food and wine and tourism becomes stronger every day, tourists want to know the places, identities and lifestyles of the destinations through agri-food products,” explained Ferrari. Roots Tourism is therefore not just a return journey of compatriots to their places of origin: “returning, explained Unime teacher Filippo Grasso, means discovering or rediscovering the identity of the places and the uniqueness of the cultural and food and wine heritage, learned through the narratives of emigrant family members and the various information channels. The roots model is an innovative model of territorial tourism governance – from villages to small municipalities, from rural areas to large cities – which goes beyond the simple tourist offer of the return journey and impacts on different and large multidimensional and interconnected sectors, becoming an effective stable and structural best practice tool”. The digital platform “” is the official promotion program for experiential travel of the roots, coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to encourage the choice of Italian descendants to experience the places of their ancestors; “this is why – said Grasso – the Universities, with the task of the third mission, intend to promote reflection between scholars and operators and facilitate the meeting between the demand of travelers and the tourist offer of the territories”.