Promotion of tourist itineraries in Tuscany

Head: Pier Luigi Sacco

Year 2017

The concept of the tourist itinerary has a deep extension of meaning whose broad value risks making evanescent any operation of an analytical nature. It is inextricably linked to the concept of travel and therefore of the movement of one or more individuals in space and time. This character cannot be taken for granted but, on the contrary, requires careful analysis so as not to flatten out, in a stereotyped way, on its meaning as an established path, as a succession of movements along a more or less structured path. A tourist itinerary is, without doubt, a journey, intended as a series of steps to be taken to achieve a goal, or at least guided by the satisfaction of a need.

To these considerations must be added an ontological and, consequently, methodological reflection. From the point of view of a policy maker, a tour operator, a traveler, the itinerary is still a commodity/product. It is a complex product, the result of the various elements that make up a system of tourist offer that requires a classification, i.e. a set of parameters to define and segment the different tourist routes/products.

In this context, the cognitive dimension is actually only one of the relevant factors. The other factor, just as important and perhaps even more so than the first, is the affective factor: the ability, that is, to link significant elements of the itinerary to places and moments with a strong emotional impact, which help the visitor to establish a significant and lasting personal relationship with the travel experience, and possibly also to repeat it over time, both as an opportunity for re-enactment and rediscovery of particularly significant and motivating moments and situations. An itinerary must therefore not limit itself to connecting 'beautiful' or fascinating places, but must be able to create the conditions for the visitor to build an effective personal narrative of the experience of which the places themselves represent stages, a bit like the progression of the different moments of a musical composition.

The project, commissioned by Toscana Promozione, led to the writing of a report containing innovative guidelines for the design of tourist itineraries in Tuscany. The report was presented publicly in Florence in June 2018 in the presence of representatives of the regional governments and various Tuscan local authorities.