When you think of Italy and tourism you tend to think of museums, cities, and gelato, right? You wouldn’t be alone, those are definitely the first things that come to mind for me! It turns out though that one of Italy’s most successful tourism planning sectors is the region of SüdTirol in Alto Adige. This area is part of the Alps and in the north of Italy, very close to Austria. And this small region has some of the most successful tourism marketing in Italy, so to SüdTirol we went for a field trip!
And oh, what a field trip it was. From our meetings with the director of the SüdTirol brand to the hotel we were staying in, everything was incredible. To have the opportunity to talk with some of the people who have made SüdTirol such a successful destination marketing brand and learn about how they did it was just amazing. The cohesiveness of the brand and the enthusiasm about tourism from everyone we met with was something special and made the experience all the more enjoyable.
That doesn’t even cover the amazing views we had all weekend. The mountains of the Alps are some of the most gorgeous in the world. Waking up in the morning and looking out the window, we were treated to incredible mountain views and even some snow topped peaks! All weekend we drove around the winding roads of SüdTirol and climbed into the mountains and down into some of the valleys. We even got to try some locally made speck and apple juice on the side of a mountain. It was breathtaking and led to probably some of the best pictures I’ve taken this whole trip!
The towns we got to visit were incredible as well. SüdTirol is known for small towns and villages that showcase a blend of Italian, Austrian, and German culture. The architecture of the buildings really shows this off and the souvenirs available do as well. It makes for a very interesting visit and some really cool towns. Like the town of Castelrotto where our hotel was. Castelrotto had some interesting shops, many of the boutique, with gear for hiking or skiing and general souvenirs like steins, stickers, and the sort. What made it so interesting was the architecture that felt almost medieval and the backdrop of the mountains. A small town hidden in the mountains? It felt like something out of a fairytale.
I think what made this field trip so special and fun was the mix of enjoyment, of the scenery and the change of pace from a city to the mountains, and education, all of our meetings with tourism managers and understanding how SüdTirol markets itself as a destination. That mix and the application of what we’ve been learning all semester, about destination marketing and selling tourism products, made this field trip so interesting and enjoyable. The mountains were definitely enjoyable and someplace I’d love to go back to.