Roots Tourism potentially involves an estimated 60 to 80 million descendants of Italian emigrants worldwide, who reside mainly in the Americas, South Africa, Australia and European countries. They are not simply travellers: the root tourist is above all an investor and an "ambassador" of the territories he keeps in his family history. In 2018, ENIT included 10 million travellers in this category, which generated an economic inflow of about 4 billion euros, 7.5% more than the previous year.
Roots Tourism is therefore a significant part of a strategic sector of the Italian economy, that of tourism, to which MAECI looks with particular interest and commitment in a system operation that aims to strengthen the image of Italy as a tourist destination. The objective is to intercept an increasing share of tourist flows from abroad to be directed towards small and medium cities of art, and towards regional tourist itineraries.
Many are the initiatives of the Foreign Ministry to enhance this trend, starting with the publication of the series Guida alle Radici Italiane. Un viaggio sulle tracce dei tuoi antenati (Guide to Italian roots. A journey in the footsteps of your ancestors), a series of tourist guides (translated into English, Spanish and Portuguese) whose first volume, published in 2019, is dedicated to Puglia, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Emilia-Romagna, Calabria, Sicily, Molise, Lazio and Lombardy, and can be downloaded at this link.
The second volume, in preparation for a second group of regions (Calabria, Sicily, Molise, Lazio and Lombardy), will be released in early 2021.
In addition, a questionnaire, Scoprirsi Italiani: i viaggi delle radici in Italia (Discovering to be Italians: the journeys of the roots in Italy), carried out by the AsSud Association with the support of the General Directorate for Italians Abroad and Migration Policies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has been prepared and can be completed in Italian and five other languages, at this link.
The results of the consultation will be used for the purposes of a study that will provide institutions and professionals with suitable tools for packaging tourism products for roots travellers. An informative video on the valorisation of the villages of Italy will also be available to Roots Tourism.