The ECR Culture Weekend in Ischia took place from 23 to 25 June. A three-day event that saw the involvement of numerous prominent figures from the institutional world discuss tourism and the sector’s potential as a development engine for Europe. For some months now, ECR has been setting up itinerant weekends – so far the cities that have hosted the event are Sofia, Split, Jerusalem, and Ischia – aimed at discussing numerous and diverse topics. The objective? To identify opportunities for growth and define a well-structured programme for the future of Europe.
Plenty of topics were addressed, such as water and the innovative measures to be adopted to make its use sustainable and pragmatic (and it is no coincidence that this topic was the focus of the meeting in Jerusalem, a city that is a proponent of courageous innovations in water management and agricultural methods); or subjects such as culture and European identity, which were discussed at length in the case of the Sofia initiative.
The weekend in Ischia, as mentioned at the beginning, was dedicated to tourism and its enormous potential. This industry represents 280 billion dollars a year in revenue in Europe alone, and is a source of income for millions of Europeans. Suffice it to say that Italy is expected to host 68 million tourists. After the two-year health emergency, the sector is finally back on track and it is important to regulate resources and workforces in a considered way so that this market can allow all EU countries to grow. The ECR Party, therefore, wanted to open a discussion on the challenges and opportunities that the whole sector will face, looking in particular at European regulations and collaboration on tourism and transport.
All the personalities who took part in the Ischia event
The Culture Weekend in Ischia aimed to assess the influence of institutions on European tourism and, in addition, to investigate sustainable goals for the EU tourism industry. For this reason, the voices that animated the meetings had the task of making essential contributions to concretely address the conference’s main theme.
All participants arrived at the Continental Terme Hotel on 23 June: a unique location that perfectly reflects the striking beauty of the Campania island.
The actual conference did not begin until 9.30 a.m. on Saturday morning, when Michele Schiano, deputy of Fratelli d’Italia party, welcomed the guests and officially kicked off the day.
The official opening of the proceedings was entrusted to Nicola Procaccini, MEP and Co-President of the ECR Group, and to Antonio Giordano, Secretary General of the ECR Party and deputy of Fratelli d’Italia, who stated: “The mission of the ECR Party is to strengthen the ties that unite us as conservatives. This is why our events are inclusive, open to young people, families and enthusiasts. We want to give Europe’s conservatives the opportunity to meet colleagues from different countries to talk about politics, culture and the future in a friendly atmosphere”. The first panel, “Tourism and Culture: Business Perspective and Conservation Strategies,” was also preceded by keynote speeches delivered by Alessandra Priante, Director of the Regional Department for Europe at World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The first meeting was moderated by Domenico Lombardi, Economist and Columnist, and the topic “tourism and culture” was then discussed by: Adela Mirza, President of Alternativa Dreapta, Romania; Barbara Kolm, Vice President of Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Austria; Ilenya Lucaselli, FDI Member of Parliament, Head of the Budget Commission, Chamber of Deputies, Italy; Barbara Arbitrio, CEO of AMI Italia.
Space was then given to one of the central topics of the event, “Mobility in tourism: the air system as a strength”. A fundamental matter, considering that we have now entered the summer season, the period when the hospitality industry is more alive than ever. It was moderated by Gregory Alegi, aeronautical journalist, and discussed by Galeazzo Bignami, Deputy Minister of Infrastructures and Transport; Pasqualino Monti, Managing Director of ENAV S.p.A; Fabio Lazzerini, Managing Director of ITA Airways; Veronica Pamio, Vice President of External Relations and Sustainability at Aeroporti di Roma S.p.A.; Eddie Wilson, Managing Director of Ryanair, Ireland.
The second part of the event, which started after the lunch break, kicked off with the meeting “European Tourism System: How much influence can the EU Commission have?” It was moderated by Giancarla Rondinelli, RAI 1 Political Journalist. Speakers in the discussion included Daniela Santanché, Minister of Tourism; Valentina Superti, Director for Tourism at the European Commission; Tommaso Foti, FDI Member of Parliament; Carlo Fidanza, MEP, head of the FDI delegation; Marina Lalli, President of Federturismo; Tommaso Tanzilli, Member of the Board of Directors of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane S.p.A.
Lastly, the panel “Religious tourism in Europe: itineraries to discover our identity” was discussed, moderated by Donatella Di Nitto, head of the Fratelli d’Italia press office at the Chamber of Deputies. Speakers included Federico Mollicone, MP and President of the Culture Commission; Gianluca Caramanna, MP and Advisor to the Minister of Tourism; Fabio Roscani, MP and leader of the FDI Youth Movement; Ladislav Ilcic, MEP and Croatian Sovereignist Party.
Sunday was dedicated to discovering the island. This is a prerogative of the meetings organised by ECR to allow participants to get to know the area in which the event takes place and to explore it.