Archive for January, 2011

Business As Usual

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

This is only marginally related to tourism, but it’s an interesting story nonetheless. It seems that just over a year ago, back in December 2009, the carcasses of seven whales were beached along the Gargano coast between Ischitella and Cagnano Varano, La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno reports.
Fearing that the hygiene of the public, not to say the tourist appeal of the affected beaches, would suffer if something was not done quickly, local officials hired a company to recover, transport and bury the decomposing carcasses. The company did everything it was asked to do, on an emergency basis – and, because of bureaucratic snafus, is still waiting to be paid more than a down payment for its work.
The company claims it is out “several tens of thousands of euros” that it paid out to buy materials, pay its workers and bring in heavy-duty equipment to finish the job. It also claims it may go out of business if it’s not paid soon. He’s gone so far as to threaten to dig up the carcasses and deposit them in front of the offices of the government officials involved if he’s not paid.
As I said, not really a tourism story, but think about this: what if something like this happens again, let’s say in July, at the height of the tourism season, and nobody will step forward to do the necessary cleanup work out of fear of not being paid for their trouble.

“The Worst of Puglia”

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

While tourism officials and travel companies are busily promoting “the best of Puglia” to potential visitors, a page on Facebook titled “La Puglia Peggiore” (loosely translated as “The Worst of Puglia”) is compiling information and photos documenting places where, to put it mildly, more work is needed (search for “La Puglia Peggiore” on Facebook.com). Trashed beaches, illegal dumping sites, garbage-strewn roads and other “devastated landscapes” are depicted in an effort to focus attention on places where efforts must be made to protect the region’s degraded physical and cultural treasures.
Sponsors of the Facebook page told the newspaper La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno that “In addition to significantly lowering the quality of life, this extreme state of disrepair is likely to seriously affect our tourism, because the first thing that catches the eye of Italian and foreign tourists visiting us is dirt: in summer the beaches turn into stretches of garbage of all kinds, the streets are full of papers, cigarettes and bottles thrown from moving cars while our countryside is now home to thousands and thousands of illegal dumping sites…”
While Puglia is famous for the high quality of its Blue Flag beaches and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, elsewhere it’s a very different and sad situation. Puglia has unequaled cultural, artistic and archaeological treasures that can offer visitors a very special travel experience, but that heritage needs to be protected. As one of the sponsors told La Gazzetta, the Facebook page is intended, in part, to deter “those who offend the landscape and the environment and in the summer turn our beautiful beaches into landfills.”