Digitizing Small Businesses in Italy with the Italian Touring Club

We are teaming up with the Italian Touring Club to support the digitization of small Italian businesses in 252 small towns awarded the Bandiera Arancione by the club. The award recognizes the quality of tourism and the environment in small inland towns rich in history, culture and tradition.

The need to relaunch the tourism sector and tourism-dependent activities, which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, is also evident in the forecasts of Assoturismo Confesercenti (The Italian Tourism Federation). According to the association, 2020 brought almost 233 million fewer tourist visits, resulting in an economic loss of €88 billion. The collapse of tourism has had a serious effect on all the businesses in the supply chain. The €88 billion includes: €32 billion lost from hotel and non-hotel accommodations such as bed-and-breakfast facilities; €12 billion from bars and restaurants; and €10 billion from other tourist services and shops, which saw tourist shopping disappear.

This situation directly affects small towns with an economy based mainly on tourism, in which small companies are looking for new tools to relaunch their businesses. In fact, 79% of administrators and operators in the Bandiera Arancione municipalities believe that it would be useful to take advantage of qualified training opportunities. 




In 2020, we launched a collaboration with the Italian Touring Club to meet the digital training needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in small Italian towns. The initiative aims to provide concrete support to the merchants in the Bandiera Arancione villages that stand out for their excellent services and high-quality hospitality.

 There are several materials and tools available to small businesses that want to enhance their digitalization:

  • A section dedicated to tourism on the #PiccoleGrandImprese online hub, with training material and on-demand training videos that are continuously updated
  • A free digital diagnosis tool, located on the hub, to evaluate the extent of a business’ digitalization and to obtain a personalized digital action plan
  • A free webinar, entitled Facebook Tourism Open Day, which will take place on June 10 and will be broadcast live on the Binario F Facebook page, with live chat support from Facebook experts and partners. The webinar will include information regarding how to establish an online presence on Facebook and Instagram, as well as how to create one’s own virtual showcase with Shopify, and to use Messenger and WhatsApp Business to communicate with customers. In addition, Shopify experts will demonstrate how to create an e-commerce site in just a few steps and can then be connected to Facebook and Instagram.

It is increasingly important for SMEs to have a digital presence and promote and sell their products online, going beyond the physical boundaries of their geographical location to help grow their business. According to The Digital Tools Consumer Survey, 30% of Italian consumers have discovered new businesses thanks to the use of digital tools.

Finally, in an effort to help SMEs make the most of the summer season, which is crucial for economic recovery, we’ll release a guide containing tips on using Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp creatively and effectively. The guide, which will also be published as part of the #PiccoleGrandImprese online hub and will be available for download, will contain practical advice regarding how to promote a business and products online.

The #PiccoleGrandImprese program is our largest program to support the economic recovery of Italian SMEs since the pandemic began. Launched in 2020, the project has already benefited from the collaboration of the Italian Touring Club in publishing an interactive map, developed by Mapstr, to highlight the country’s hidden gems and local producers.

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