A study conducted by the Insa-Consulere market research institute has found that approximately 60% of the adult German population wants to travel in 2021, pandemic or no pandemic. The percentage rises to 65% in the group aged 25 to 34. This is hardly surprising: the Germans are among Europe’s most enthusiastic travellers, both because they are ideally positioned to reach the rest of the continent relatively easily and because they get on average between four and six weeks’ worth of holidays per year. The bursting sense of frustrated Wanderlust, however, is hardly a uniquely German problem: the whole world is struggling to stay put, so to speak. We miss travelling more than anything and we are constantly torn between the (somewhat desperate) ad campaigns of most airlines, promising full refunds and no fees for last-minute cancellations, and the alarming information we receive from our local health authorities on a daily basis. This is as valid when it comes to holidays as it is for incentive travel, which companies want to be able to offer their employees again. Italy, of course, is taking the restart of tourism seriously, since this industry is one of the drivers of the Country’s economy. That’s why many destinations are being marketed as allowing for socially distanced and health-secure options for incentive travel in 2021.
Safe destinations for incentive travel in 2021
Merano Vitae: a new concept of well-being
The city of Merano, in South Tyrol, has launched a territorial marketing campaign based entirely on the concept of well-being and “hygge” (the Nordic-culture concept that celebrates the creation of a cosy atmosphere and the enjoyment of simple pleasures with friends and family). The project is called “Merano Vitae” and promotes a combination of physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental wholesomeness as the ultimate goal for your incentive travel in 2021. Long walks in nature, of course, play a big part in this idyllic view, but so does strolling through the city, trying the local cuisine and the region’s world-famous wines, relaxing in the city’s famous thermal baths, or visiting the botanical garden at Trauttmansdorff Castle. Choose this destination if you want to show your employees that you care and help them relax after an unprecedentedly hard year.
Polignano a Mare: history and nature
Nature is going to be the common denominator of this year’s travels. Most travellers will be looking for destinations that allow for long excursions away from cities and tourist hot-spots, both out of concern for the potential risks of gathering in large groups and because of a newly-awakened environmental conscience that is making sustainable tourism increasingly attractive. Hence the popularity of both mountain and seaside destinations. Polignano a Mare, in Apulia, has much to offer in this regard. You could book a boat trip to its picturesque sea-coves, set between two steep rock walls. This the perfect destination for snorkeling and scuba-diving enthusiasts: no crowds, no queues, and no need to wear a mask under your goggles. Taking a stroll through the old town in the evening can be equally enchanting: Polignano, like many Apulian cities, is rich in history and tradition. Make sure you try the local cuisine too: it is known to be one of the richest and tastiest in Italy.
Passignano: the medieval village you didn’t know about
Umbria is a popular destination for those who love art, history, culture, and good food. Most tourists, however, are drawn to Assisi and Perugia and they completely miss out on a whole galaxy of amazing villages that have plenty to offer and will spare you the anxiety of trying to avoid large crowds of tourists queueing in front of churches and museums. Passignano, by Lake Trasimeno, is one such village. This is the perfect destination for those who enjoy long walks in nature but are also fascinated by medieval architecture and the feeling of going back in time. Start your journey in the small fishing village by the lake and walk up to the mighty and intimidating fortress that dominates the whole area, explore the tiny alleys of the town and wander back to the shores of the lake, stopping by one of the local restaurants and enjoying the pleasures of simple, genuine cuisine, made with locally-grown ingredients.