With the Covid-19 lockdown, everything changed in Venice. Walkways, bridges and squares normally teaming with tourists became tranquil havens for the few locals out for a stroll. Today, as the city reopens to the world, there will be no going back to pre-Coronavirus days. Along with new hope for the future, a new President has also been elected for the region’s tourism board.
On 30 June, Salvatore Pisani, General Manager since 2011 of the luxury boutique hotel Splendid Venice, was elected as the new President of the tourism and services section of Confindustria Venezia Metropolitan Area of Venice and Rovigo. Elected by the Section Assembly which met at the headquarters of the Association, in Marghera, he succeeds François Droulers, now Vice President.
The pandemic, according to the newly elected President, has been an opportunity to realign and rethink the concept of tourist destination. Pisani says the city’s way of handling tourists will have to change: “We will be working to elevate the quality of future tourism. We firmly aim to overturn former problems of overtourism by concentrating on quality rather than quantity. We need to rethink the concept of this destination, looking at new trends and categories. We will work with all institutions and associations in order to make sure that when tourism comes back, it happens in a positive manner, based on culture, art, fashion, entertainment, food and wine. Together with the team, we will do everything possible not only to relaunch high-quality tourism, but also to extend the duration of the guests’ stay throughout the Metropolitan Area of Venice and Rovigo. We will work assiduously with the institutions and with all the associations to host large events, with particular attention to culture, fashion, art, entertainment, and food and wine. We will remain true to our values and return stronger than before.”
The new association President gazes down on Venice from the rooftop of his century-old property handily situated between San Marco and the Rialto bridge, and reflects on the past months… “Due to the fact Venice is an island and was locked down early on during the Covid-19 crisis, it remained virtually untouched by the virus. This was one of the safest places to be in the world. When the bridge and the airport were closed, the lockdown was total. In all of Venice, there were only three or four cases of the virus, and even then, they were not very serious. The people here were very respectful of the lockdown rules, and this had the desired effect of protecting the population from the virus.”
So, in a nutshell, what is going to change in the way Venice deals with tourism in the post Covid-19 world? “There will be a much greater emphasis on sustainability, and people will be welcomed with a different approach. Tourists will see Venice in a different way… not like those who used to just visit the city in the past for just one day. The city has changed, and I believe the way tourists will visit must change, too.”
Photo – top of page – Copyright 2019 – Richard Barnes / Cleverdis