Let me be totally honest with you when my daughter told me that Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were getting married on Oct 19th 2012 at the Borgo Egnazia just down the road from here I had no idea who she was talking about. Actually I still don’t really know but they seem to have done more for Puglia tourism than the countless millions spent by various tourist groups down here as well as millions in EU support most of which has once again mysteriously disappeared into someone’s deep pockets. The Travel Industry Bulletin that monitors search engine requests and online booking activity says that booking to Southern Italy are up 72% in the Jan-Mar period when almost 80% of the vacation bookings are completed. 40% of that figure is heading to Puglia and the other 60% is going initially to Naples and the Amalfi coast though many will be doing two centre holidays and coming here as well. Conde Nast Traveler have been running a series of articles marveling at the wonders of Puglia and i-escape hip holidays say that the glitterati ( I asked my wife it that was us but it seems not ) are rushing to book Puglia before it is completely full of them . In the peak you can’t get a BA flight unless you know Willie Walsh personally and Easyjet and Ryanair have fares that would bring tears to the eyes of most full service airline chiefs as the profits must be enormous. Maybe they are all coming to dance in Puglia like these guys sing about.
Part of me says this is marvelous and loads of tourism will bring more prosperity to the area and better living standards for everyone. It will help youth employment and extend the holiday season form its frantic 6 week period when northern Italy invades the area. It is good news I tell myself it really is.
Except that things will change down here and how much of the charm will go out of the window as mass tourism marches in. That fact was made clear to me the other day in a small way just around the corner in Gallante. A sleepy village store a few years back it saw its client base change from what many in Martina Franca would say were thieves and robbers to rich norther Italian second homers, ex-pats and tourists staying in the plethora of trulli that dot the area. Not slow to catch on to a good thing the sleepy store with it’s couple of rickety tables where local men played cards and drank wine and beer closed for refurbishment. Last year it opened as a supermarket and a smart bar.
Snacks came with the drinks, people lounged on loungers, tourists wrote postcards about the amazing little local bar they had found full of Italians ( they were northerners!) and the family that owned it did well. Want to play cards or drink a beer after work in your work clothes. We have a table for you around the side
It’s progress it’s great I love it of course I do . No really I do it’s just what we need. It’s really good not authentic but really good . More should be done like this and they are. This year a rustic little wine tasting place around the corner from this bar has been refurbished and made into an upmarket wine bar
It’s just what was needed . No really it was.
Just please don’t do it to my bar .
Oh , back to those stats at the start. Could someone tell me where on earth those extra holidaymakers are going to go on the Amalfi coast. I was there in January and the road around the coast was already a car park. Guess they will be singing this as they sit in their cars.