We The Italians | Discovering Italian the roots travels in Italy

Discovering Italian the roots travels in Italy

Discovering Italian the roots travels in Italy

  • WTI Magazine #128 Jun 20, 2020
  • 58

The AsSud Association (which has among its statutory purposes the study of emigration and the relationship between migration and the territories of departure and arrival, see in this regard the "Piccolo Festival delle Spartenze" founded by the Association in 2016) has established the Osservatorio sulle Radici Italiane - Observatory on Italian Roots (ORI).

ORI has been working for some time on the theme of return and root tourism, an activity that has given birth to the idea of a research called “Discovering Italian: the roots travels in Italy”. The survey, to become a publication, will collect the empirical and theoretical results of a semi-structured questionnaire already developed in 6 languages (Italian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian), which will be administered to an extensive and stratified sample of Italians abroad, living in the areas most affected by Italian emigration and presence.

The scholars who currently constitute the Observatory are Giuseppe Sommario, Marina Gabrieli, Riccardo Giumelli, Delfina Licata.

Aims of the research project

The research project aims to remedy a twofold gap: the lack of an organic and multidisciplinary theoretical reflection that allows a transversal reading of the phenomenon; the lack of a quantitative survey on an international scale that can make the protagonists (actual and potential) of return trips and roots better known. It will then be possible to proceed with the correct interpretation of the complexity of the phenomenon and its interrelationships with Italian culture.

Main actions and methodology

Thanks to the questionnaire we set the following goals: to delineate and understand the phenomenon of return tourism and its roots; to know how much “thirst” for Italy, Italianness and Italicity there is in the world; how much desire to feel part of a single history; what are the destinations of arrival; what are the places of origin; what kind of tourist experience people would like to do; what kind of tourist experience people have already done; what kind of costs people are willing to incur. The research will also be accompanied by qualitative insights, ad hoc interviews and focus groups. Among other things, in the light of what is happening, a survey like this one that will photograph the post-Covid traveller can be an essential tool to guide future actions and policies, also because it is precisely root and return tourism that could play an even more important role in future travel. After all, this is only the first step, which will be followed by others (monitoring, analysis of some initiatives) aimed at describing more and more comprehensively root tourism in Italy and its enormous possibilities.

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