With the participation of the president of the Puglia Region, Michele Emiliano, Booking.com regional manager, Alessandro Callari, and the mayor of Polignano a Mare, Vito Carrieri
BOOKING.COM AWARDS POLIGNANO A MARE AS THE MOST WELCOMING CITY IN THE WORLD
In the prestigious and scenic venue of the “Pino Pascali” Museum of Contemporary Art, the Booking.com Traveller Review Awards ceremony was held today, which saw Polignano a Mare awarded first place overall as the most welcoming city in the world for 2023.
The victory announced last Jan. 24-the result of more than 240 million verified global reviews released on the Booking.com platform by its customers-was the cue for the event held today entitled “Welcoming and Digital. Winning combination for the promotion of the territory,” which turned the spotlight on the success of Polignano a Mare during a broader discussion on the importance of digitization in the tourism sector for the enhancement of the territory.
It was a moment of discussion on the importance of “working as a system” in the tourism sector for the enhancement of the territory that was attended by Michele Emiliano, president of the Apulia Region, Antonio Decaro, mayor of Bari and president of ANCI, Gianfranco Lopane, regional councillor for Tourism, Tourism Development and Enterprise of the Apulia Region, and Manuela Vitulli, a much-loved writer and blogger from Apulia. Doing the honors was the mayor of Polignano a Mare, Vito Carrieri, along with Alessandro Callari, Regional Manager of Booking.com.
The discussion was moderated by Antonio Stornaiolo, well-known actor and TV host.
The Traveller Review Awards born eleven years ago, represent Booking.com’s commitment to support its partners-represented by hotels, apartments, local attractions all bookable on the platform-and help improve the knowledge of destinations and the wide hospitality offered to all travelers.
“Celebrating Booking.com’s recognition for Polignano means for all of us to renew the ancient pact of the Apulians with beauty and with their own vocation to always be a frontier land, hospitable and welcoming, an open window on the Mediterranean that is not afraid of this stretch of water that bathes its flanks, but rather considers it a blessing and an opportunity – comments President Michele Emiliano. This is a recognition of the uniqueness of Polignano and the whole of Puglia, of its ability to focus on the quality of hospitality while preserving the identity and innate sense of hospitality of its inhabitants. The challenge is to combine quality of hospitality with quality of life for permanent citizens. We will continue to work on the potential of Puglia’s small villages, especially in inland areas. Reallocating flows to lesser-known areas, encouraging the seasonal adjustment and internationalization of presences can give further impetus to the regional tourism industry and to the qualified and stable employment of young Apulians. Polignano today represents the whole of Apulia: it is the capital of Apulian hospitality, it is the capital of a way of being of Apulians. Hospitality is not a business fact, it is not something to which one is trained with training courses. Hospitality is a way of being of people. It is the joy of knowing new things, different things, of welcoming them by showing one’s identity. And Polignano has a very strong identity.”
“As the whole world should know, Puglia welcomes all people who want to come here. This is an award that Polignano wins on behalf of an entire region that makes welcoming its identity element,” adds President Emiliano. Those who can pay, whom we call tourists, are welcome and are obviously handled everywhere with great care. We also welcome with the same attention, with the same joy, those who cannot pay: those who come to us because they need to change their fate or are trying to save themselves from situations of denial of rights. Things that are obvious to us and yet evidently in the world are not obvious.
“With the desire to travel triumphantly returned, Booking.com is proud to recognize the work of its partners, and the Traveller Review Awards assigned to Polignano a Mare is a winning example of this,” comments Alessandro Callari, Regional manager of Booking.com- The Italian hospitality fabric is made up of many small and medium-sized facilities to which we reserve the utmost support so that they can attract an increasingly global audience and grow by enhancing their territory.
“The Municipality of Polignano to face the challenge of the digital transition will equip itself with a new brand identity, values as well as visual, through a participatory and inclusive path,” says the mayor, Vito Carrieri. “The same new tourism portal will be linked to that of Pugliapromozione with a landing page dedicated to the territory of Polignano, the historical-cultural attractions, and the productive excellences with the aim of making tourism communication consistent with the regional system, avoiding overlaps and waste of resources.
“With a wonderful landscape and crystal-clear waters, Polignano a Mare is a treasure chest of all-Apulian beauty. The award that Booking.com has given to the city associates this enormous attractive value with the collaborative ability of residents, operators and institutions in guaranteeing welcome and hospitality to tourists from all over the world,” says Gianfranco Lopane, Regional Councillor for Tourism. “A certification that is a guarantee of quality and commitment and that we intend to pursue also through actions focused on data sharing. Precisely the data, open and available, will have to guide the strategies of the present and future of tourism in Puglia. From the upcoming putting online of the revamped Viaggiareinpuglia.it website to the BuyPuglia Matching Platform, useful all year round for the organization of B2B meetings between Apulian buyers and tour operators, to the definition of increasingly detailed services for the approximately 40 thousand users on the DMS platform managed by PugliaPromozione. We aim to make the Apulian tourism ecosystem fully integrated with the digital one. An ambitious goal that we will pursue in order to meet the challenges of the market with a view to sustainability.”
“Polignano is an excellence of the land of Bari and Apulia that we are all committed to supporting,” comments the mayor of Bari, Antonio Decaro. “The extraordinary nature of the landscapes and natural beauty is combined with the warmth and intelligence of a people who have been able over the years to understand the strengths of this land and make them a unique experience for the many visitors who have arrived here from all over the world. The art of hospitality that makes a place special also passes through here, and in this the people of Polignano have been masters as well as trailblazers for many other Apulian realities. This award is above all theirs and that of all the operators who over the years have been able to invest in the quality of the offer. Today’s is only the first of many goals, however, because Polignano still has a long way to go ahead of it, networking with the other municipalities of the Terra di Bari in a strategic path of tourism promotion and discovery that still has so much to show and offer to the world.”
“In these years Puglia has given me so much, starting with the possibility of building my future here without having to give up my ambitions. We have been indispensable to each other,” comments Manuela Vitulli. “I, in my own small way, even in times not suspected, have dedicated myself to the storytelling and promotion of the Apulian territory in digital. She, for her part, has allowed me to enrich myself, to travel and marvel continuously, even a few kilometers from home. And so over the years we have grown together and I have become more and more connected to her. How do you explain such a visceral love? I would not be the same if I were not from Puglia and I could never live without my land, Puglia.”
The Association of Hoteliers, Restaurateurs and the IP “Domenico Modugno” of Polignano a Mare, which participated with a special delegation of pupils, made valuable contributions to the event.
About Booking.com: Part of Booking Holdings Inc.(NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com’s mission is to make the world truly affordable for everyone. By investing in technologies that help simplify travel, Booking.com’s marketplace makes memorable experiences easily accessible to millions of travelers every day. For more information, follow@bookingcom on social media or visit globalnews.booking.com.
Link video statement Emiliano
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Video link Decaro statement
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