Izmir hosted an event dedicated to promoting Italian and Turkish Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) products and alternative tourism, which offers travel options designed to take tourists to discover villages, territories and places where each country produces its best and most unique products. Organized by the Italian Embassy to Turkey, in conjunction with the Turkish Chamber of Commerce in Azmir, the event entitled ‘ Fertile soil – a journey through products, traditions and territories’ was opened by the Italian Ambassador, Luigi Mattiolo, and the Head of Turk Patent’s PGI Department, Hakan Kiziltepe. They stressed, each one for his own country, the importance of a PGI system in order to ensure and protect the authenticity of traditional products, as well as to drive economic development with respect to the growth of agrifood chains and to boost sales. Moreover, it was pointed out that the harmonisation of PGI regulations in both countries would have a positive impact on an already thriving trade between Italy and Turkey.
Italy presented two study cases on PGI products: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Gorgonzola cheese. The representatives of the Consortium for the Protection of the Gorgonzola Cheese and the Consortium for the Protection of the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena outlined the peculiar features of their respective production territories, and highlighted the benefits ensuing from obtaining PGI recognition. They also stressed they have a commitment to constantly protect their brands against recurrent attempts to imitate or abuse them. Along the same lines, Birol Efe, Director of Research, Entrepreneurship and Development of Professions at the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, delivered his presentation. The panel on tourism focused on alternative routes with respect to the usual destinations of mass tourism. It also highlighted the discovery of the rich heritage of popular traditions that both Italy and Turkey have. ENIT presented the historical villages of Italy inviting potential tourists to discover a “hidden country” by developing an unconventional tourism. “Gastro-tours” were proposed by Turkey with a view to promoting the knowledge of the Aegean region and disclosing its century-old traditions. A buffet of traditional products from Izmir and a concert by Fanfara dei Bersagleri concluded the day.