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Off-the-beaten-track Po Delta aims to attract “green” business travellers

by Katy Mandurino

Italy’s Po Delta has launched a clever territorial marketing strategy, aiming to attract business travellers as an off-the-beaten track “green” destination for conferences and meetings.

The “Meet in green” promotional push carried out by the Rovigo convention & visitors bureau over the last year and a half, has brought medical conferences, business meetings, team cooking events to what Italians call the Polesine, or “land between the two rivers.” 

The area just south of Venice offers a variety of landscapes and attractions. Visitors can chose between rural estates or the Venetian villas (among others, the Villa Badoer di Fratta Polesine), but also the Po Delta Park, which is a UNESCO Heritage site. The area is also dotted with numerous examples of industrial archeology; the Adria motor racing track; historic sites such as Palazzo Roverella in Rovigo, and the Concordia Academy's Pinacoteca, Bergantino's or the Great Rivers Museum.

These are all examples of art and cultural attractions that make the territory between the provinces of Rovigo, Venice and Ferrara attractive.

“Most people still think that ’there’s nothing in the Po Delta to see,'” said Cristina Regazzo, coordinator of the Rovigo Convention & Visitors bureau Network of Companies. “But demand has completely changed, and people are now looking for places immersed in nature, open spaces where art, culture and enogastronomy coexist.”

The area also lends itself to special events, she said, like Eurolambretta 2017, the international Lambretta scooter rally at the Adria racecourse from June 2 to 4.

“We already have 1,800 members signed up, and the Polesine hotels all fullly booked,” said Regazzo.

What made the difference for this little-travelled area was an agreement signed in 2015 between trade groups Confindustria, Confesercenti and Confocommercio, creating a network of companies that now, upstream, coordinates plans for territorial marketing.

Thanks to the Polesine Protocol, an agreement signed between the Veneto Region and the Ministry of Economic Development to help economic recovery after a severe slump in 2014-2016, it was eligible for funds of about €75,000. More funds came from the Chamber of Commerce (now, after the merger, Venice Chamber of Commerce, Rovigo and the Lagoon Delta) for the implementation of Rovigo's promotional plan.