Italy is going green to help counter the effects of tourism

TORONTO — Italy saw a 4.6% increase in ecological improvements in 2018, with 20 smoke-free and plastic-free beaches and 385 Blue Flags helping to ensure sustainable measures across the destination.

According to the Italian National Tourist Board, eco-friendly initiatives have become essential following significant increases in tourist arrivals last year. A total of 1,121,000 Canadian visitors, an increase of 14.6% compared to the previous year, were registered in 2018. This puts Canada 8th among non-EU countries of departure, with Canadian tourists spending 1.549 million euros (up 24.7% compared to 2017).

Here’s an overview of how Italy is helping to minimize the environmental impact of tourism:

  • Valle d’Aosta is becoming increasingly carbon-free, with the Alpine Green Experience project proposing green routes for tourists to drive along in electric cars.
  • Alto Adige Südtirol has several eco-walks and workshops in seven natural parks, 18 ComuniClima certified communities and 10,000 CasaClima certified homes, as well as six hotels with international Biohotel certification and 32 Bitalpina hotels certified by Ecolable.
  • Emilia-Romagna has the highest number of Legambiente Eco-Beaches; 88 of its 97 coastal resorts have been rated ‘excellent’. Like Friuli, Liguria, Marche, Abruzzo, Tuscany, Sicily and Veneto, it has made significant investments in eco-tourism through the introduction of eco-hotels, education campaigns, energy-savings programs and accessible beaches for those with mobility challenges.
  • Italy’s first bike station was established in Bologna, Emilia Romagna, as was the Bicycle Highway
  • Friuli-Venezia Giulia is encouraging ‘slow tourism’ with the trans-national Italia-Austria WalkArt project, which suggests walks along eight pilgrimage routes.
  • Sicily is participating in the ‘Consume Less’ project to reduce waste and garbage.
  • Tuscany will host the G20 beaches event in Castiglione della Pescaia.
  • Bibione in Veneto has become the first smoke-free beach in Italy.