Green tourism, Sila protagonist

A constant increase in attendance, which since last year are no longer only those traditionally coming from neighboring regions but also coming from the North, the Italian Cycle Tourism Oscar 2021 at the Ciclovia dei parks, which crosses four large protected areas. Calabria, not that of the beaches but the most authentic and little known of the mountains, is the protagonist of a great season of eco-sustainable tourism. A boom that passes from the ‘Gran Bosco d’Italia’, the Sila plateau, an area of ​​74,000 hectares, between the provinces of Cosenza, Catanzaro and Crotone, which, thanks to biodiversity, preserves real environmental gems and, according to recent studies, it has the cleanest air in Europe. A territory that the commitment of many young entrepreneurs and enthusiasts is relaunching, in a totally green and environmentally friendly perspective. The bike, first of all, slow mobility, thanks to the Oscar won by the region for the most beautiful cycle route in Italy together with that of Trento: 545 kilometers, from north to south, through the Pollino, the Sila, the Serre, and the ‘Aspromonte, a path that in Sila offers different itineraries, fully mapped and marked with GPS coordinates. Then the horses, the canoe on the lake, the trekking, in the woods and along the rivers and, in winter, the walks in the snow with snowshoes. All that is defined as experiential tourism and which is at the center of the offer of “Cammina Sila”, an association that has been working for 6 years to make the Calabrian plateau known and loved. An experience that began in 2012 with Legambiente, with the “A park for all” project: 30 excursions were organized, 800 people joined, a result that led to the planning of a more structured and organized activity. Therefore, in 2016 the Associazone was born, specialized in outdoor activities: there are 4 of them, attentive to competence and training, they take care of the organization, bookings, accompany tourists, work a lot on social networks and through word of mouth, with a growing success. “The numbers are constantly increasing – Antonello Martino, president of Cammina Sila told Adnkronos – also due to the experience of the pandemic, and the great difference recorded after the lockdown, between last year and this year, was the attention from the North towards Calabria “. the activities follow the seasons, it is the mountain that suggests what to do “Usually most of the tourists come from the neighboring regions, they are from Puglia and Sicily, from Campania and Basilicata, now also from Tuscany, Piedmont and Veneto arrive. The massive use of social media has meant that people get information and discover things they did not know, and that Calabria is not only sea but also, and above all, mountains. The big news, therefore – says Martino – is the presence of tourists from the north but, in general, many people are looking for experiences in nature “. This is the commitment of Cammina Sila, “to organize sustainable events without motor vehicles, using nature as it is, because it is she who suggests what to do, always at no cost. And in the mountains there is so much to do , all year round, much more than at the sea, it is the real engine of the economy of Calabria, if used well and made safe “. The activities follow the evolution of the seasons, explains the president of the Association “trekking all year round, in autumn walks for the collection of mushrooms and chestnuts, in winter, from January to March, snowshoeing, walks on the snow with snowshoes, day and night, for some years also cross-country skiing “. Summer is the period that records the greatest number of requests: “From the end of May, horseback riding begins at the ‘Vallepiccola Equestrian Center’, where a larger project is being carried out to make it a hiking center with diversified activities, rental of pedal assisted mountain bikes to be used on 80 kilometers of trails in the woods, then also the tasting of typical products. Therefore, the promotion of the territory from a naturalistic point of view but also food and wine and historical-cultural offers the proximity of San Giovanni in Fiore with its famous Abbey “. Then “always in summer the excursions on the Arvo lake by canoe, the paths along the rivers, always accompanying the activities with the story of the territory and its biodiversity”. A small revolution, in terms of numbers and resonance, largely born on social networks, “our strength – explains Martino – people experience our offers and then tell them about it, we have focused a lot on this over the years and, the numbers allow us to say that the path is right “. A success that could, it is hoped, “help a change also from the point of view of hotel reception, for which Calabria suffers many limits. There are the first signs of change also because the new generations have taken over the management of many structures. , we need to increase training, study the realities that work. At the moment people come to Sila for us, then look for a place to stay, we hope to be a driving force for all the tourism industries “.

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