For six months next year, Italy will welcome the world to Milan as the city hosts Expo Milano 2015, bringing the globe together to tackle the challenge of feeding the entire planet in a sustainable manner.
The upcoming event was the big news at last night’s Destination Italy presentation, hosted by the Italian Government Tourist Board of Toronto at St. James Cathedral. The presentation followed the Workshop Italia, which offered agents the latest news from several Italian travel suppliers.
Eugenio Magnani, Director North America, Italian Government Tourist Board said that the event will welcome more than 140 countries to Milan between May 1 and Oct. 31, 2015, during which more than 20 million international travellers are expected to attend, with 60 events taking place each day. The theme of Expo 2015 – ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy For Life’ – will focus on the issue of maintaining a sustainable and nutritious food supply for the entire globe and visitors can expect to see the culinary highlights of each country on display, said Magnani, adding that a number of pavilions will be grouped in ‘clusters’ bound by a common food staple, such as rice, spices and coffee.
“Certain countries are overfed right now, while others don’t have enough to live, and we have to fix it,” said event spokesperson Raeffaele Piscopiello. “It’s a strong message but it’s also a lot of fun with plenty of events for everyone.”
Although Canada will not have a pavilion at Expo, Piscopiello said that the country will be represented in spirit with a new Cirque Du Soleil show. The show, titled ‘Allavita!’ (To Life), will have a food and nutrition theme and run for the first four months of Expo 2015.
In addition to draws such as Expo, Magnani told PAX that increasing numbers of travellers to Italy, Canadians in particular, are opting to visit regions outside of the main tourist attractions of Rome, Florence and Venice and explore the country by road and rail, travelling to lesser-publicized destinations such as Umbria and Cinque Terre.
“These areas don’t get as much coverage, so travellers must do their research,” said Magnani. “If people choose to drive, they have the opportunity to discover new places. It’s beautiful to get lost in Italy.... It’s not just Rome, Florence and Venice - Italy is so much more. And 90 per cent of the time, the first-time traveller becomes a frequent traveller.”