Native Venice: When what was to became the Serenissima was still taking its first steps, the archipelago of Torcello, Burano, Mazzorbo was already well known.
Away from the tourists, Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello islands preserve the most authentic traditions of Venice. In particular, Burano is a bustling island famous for its colored houses and lace work; Torcello is a mystical island which combines intense spirituality with many examples of important historical art, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta and, finally, Mazzorbo and sant’Erasmo are agricoltural islands. The first was once an important trading centre but it is now known for its vineyards and orchards.
The islands of the Northern Lagoon of Venice have suffered from the effects of a social crisis conseguent also to a progressive loss of functionswith respect to the centre which is always seemingly further away. This situation has led to demographic impoverishment, a reduction of the quality of life. Many initiatives have been promoted by local entrepreneurs to react to this situation. The Consorzio Venezia Nativa was set up in order to face these problems with the mandate of promoting this part of the Lagoon also from the point of view of its potential for tourism. The great work of local entrepreneurs and the Consortium has already obtained substantial results. Amongst which are the greater attention paid by the pubblic Institutions to the problematics of the islands and seeking out first hand solutions to the problems posed. The Venezia Nativa Consortium in particular, by following its own marketing plan has begun to enter the tourism market autonomously.
Approximate total cost - The overall cost of the project is estimated at about 280.000 Euro for setting up and about 100.000 to 120.000 Euro annual expenditure.
To cover costs the Consortium can only rely on membership fees and its ability to raise funding based on the economic benefits generated.
Evidence of success
The affirmation of Burano, Mazzorbo, Torcello and Sant’Erasmo as an autonomous tourism destination is an ambitious but achievable goal that fits certainly into the declared objectives of the EU institutions which is the tourism enhancement of minor centres and the development of sustainable tourism that is above all able to activate social development processes in the local communities present in the affected areas.
Venezia Nativa has won the Special Prize of the Jury in the ECTN 2017 Awards
The recent economic climate does not help to reach a rapid overcoming of the negative factors that led to the demographic impoverishment, the exodus of the residents and the crisis suffered by traditional local crafts. Tourism in its present emerging and low form, does not provide a single solution.
Potential for learning or transfer
The touristic system of Northern Lagoon is trying to gain a greater visibility on the tourism market thanks to a lot of promotional tools that are being
prepared and by participating in projects and events with more of an international feel to them. The ability of certain local realities to represent best practices through processes injecting economic energy (in synergy and partnership with Public Bodies) and the promotion of sustainable tourism aimed not at the consumption of excellence and at this territory but at favouring environment regeneration, social and economic processes is and will continue to be among the strong points of this project.
The experience of Venezia Nativa as a bottom-up consortium for the development of sustainable and cultural tourism can be a very good paradigm for other lesser known destinations to develop alternative tourism products and services in attracting visitors from nearby traditional and well known, world class, mass destinations, such as Venice.
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