Italy’s rich cultural heritage, comprising over 4,000 museums, nearly 300 archaeological sites and parks, 570 monuments, monumental complexes, and 55 UNESCO sites, takes centre stage in the 2024 Roots Tourism project.
This initiative, championed by Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, aims to offer Italian descendants residing abroad a chance to explore their ancestors’ birthplaces, culture, and traditions.
In a letter addressed to the participants of the States General of Restart, organised by the Economic and Social Observatory ‘Riparte l’Italia’ in Bologna, Tajani emphasised the project’s significance. He deemed it “among the priorities of the Farnesina (the Italian foreign ministry)” and a cause “particularly close to my heart.”
Roots Tourism project could appeal to 80million audience
Aligned with the Year of Italian Roots in the World, the project is integrated into Italy’s EU-funded post-Covid National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). Tajani noted this signifies the government’s recognition of the project as a growth driver for territories, the economy, and also a means to attract tourist flows while fostering dialogue and projecting a contemporary image of Italy abroad.
Tajani has actively engaged with local mayors across Italy to introduce and garner support for the project.
Italy has officially designated 2024 as the year of ‘tourism of the roots,‘ encouraging travel by Italians and their descendants who have emigrated to explore the places where their ancestors once lived. Addressing the Roots-In international tourism of origins fair in Matera, Tajani highlighted the immense potential of this form of tourism, estimating a market of 80 million people.
He said tourism of the roots represents a strategic opportunity for areas not impacted by mass tourism. It also provides a platform to strengthen ties with Italian communities worldwide and elevate the profiles of small villages and rural communities at the origin of the migratory phenomenon. These communities serve as custodians of the values, culture, and traditions disseminated globally by Italians and their descendants.