Giro d’Italia, the ministers’ push: “The pink race enchants tourists”

Ministers Santanchè and Abodi with Malagò, n.1 of CONI, and the president of RCS Cairo at the Tourism Forum in Piedmont

Valerio Piccioni

There is a ranking that our country must climb, that of the number of tourists welcomed each year. And there is someone who can give this undertaking a precious boost: the Giro d’Italia. It was one of the themes of the Baveno Tourism Forum in Piedmont, which brought together ministers, entrepreneurs and sports managers on Lake Maggiore. And in which Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni underlined that “hunger for Italy” which must be increasingly translated into presences, events and opportunities to attract attention. Obviously also sports. It was Urbano Cairo, president of RCS MediaGroup, who provided the numbers of the potential climb and those of the “boost” that the Giro can offer. “We have welcomed 65 million tourists, fifth behind France, which has 90 million, and then Spain, the United States and China. The goal is not easy, but possible. And the Giro is a tool that can be used to attract new presences. There is an impact of two billion euros for the territory: people come for the Giro, watch the Giro, see the beauties of Italy and want to return.”


Of course there is still a lot of work to do. The Minister of Tourism, Daniela Santanchè, who organized the Baveno comparison, also says this, declaring her objective: “I have a great ambition: I cannot think that we are less than France, that the Tour de France is more important than ours Tour of Italy. Our goal must be for the Giro to be the first in the world. But to do this we need the team, more resources and more attention.” And on this, Andrea Abodi also intervenes: “In France – says the Minister of Sport – the State considers the Tour to be something of its own. For this reason we want to give ourselves a model of collaboration also between ministries, which is more organised, more structured and more systematic”.


In short, the French formula can be a point of reference because there, says Abodi, “there is a model of public-private partnership in which the State, despite not being a partner, is in fact one”. Cairo considers this path to be virtuous also judging by what has already happened in 2023. “We will amaze you,” says Abodi. Because the Giro must be considered “an element of the national heritage”. It is that “awareness” that Paolo Bellino, the CEO of RCS Sport, has repeatedly spoken about, who insists on the new path that is being pursued in recent months: “To grow further we need an overall contribution from the public and we are finally working on with this approach.” The great event, however, Abodi underlines, must be able to be “a multiplier of sporting practice, an element of broadening the base that is associated with great victories”.


And speaking of major events, Giovanni Malagò wants to underline a passage: if we want to offer an answer to “Italy’s hunger”, we must give abroad – says the president of Coni – “infrastructural guarantees and on this for decades we have failed”. The discussion goes beyond Milan-Cortina: “With the exception of the ’56 and 2006 Winter Olympics, the ’60 Olympics and the ’90 World Cup, the State has not carried out a single public sports project since the post-war period.” The theme of conquering the foreign public is also raised by Angelo Sticchi Damiani (president of Aci): “57% of the 300 thousand fans who follow the Italian F.1 Grand Prix in Monza come from abroad”.

they fly

It’s up to Marco Mezzaroma to pick up the thread of the big event as a driving force for the basic activity. The president of Sport and Health, who announces the candidacy to host the finals of the two European club rugby events at the Olimpico in 2025, gives an example: “There is a figure cited by Angelo Binaghi, president of the Italian Tennis and Padel Federation , which impressed me. Since 2018, membership in Piedmont, the region that hosts the ATP Finals in Turin, has increased by 300 percent.”