“Good evening Europe, good morning Australia, ciao Italia!” With these words, the 2022 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest kicked off, at the PalaOlimpico in Turin, Italy. Millions of people sat in front of their tv screens and thousands of visitors filled the stadium with cheers. From May 10th to May 14th, Turin was the centre of attention in Europe.
After Måneskin took the Eurovision Song Contest to Italy with their song Zitti e Buoni, the country had to find a suitable city to host the event and accommodate, the press, delegations and tourists that travelled there. Although Rome or Milan seemed like obvious choices, the honour of hosting the Song Contest went to Turin, a relatively lesser known city. Located in Piedmont, in the North of Italy, the city is less touristic compared to Venice, Rome or Florence. But, with millions of eyes and cameras turned to Turin during the week of Eurovision, this could change.
(In the audios throughout this article you will hear Alessandro Guala, professor of city marketing and big events et. Al.)
Differences in the effects of big events
The Eurovision Experience
Hosting big events such as the Eurovision Song Contest requires thorough preparation. Domenico Carretta, councillor for big events and tourism at the municipality of Turin: “Before the Eurovision started, there were some start up difficulties, as Turin was not used to hosting big events after the pandemic. The gears that had to ‘fuel’ the Eurovision were a bit rusty. We had to work and communicate with many different organizations, restaurants, transportation and cultural institutions to put everything together and make the events of the Eurovision week go smoothly.”
During the week of the contest, the streets were filled with Eurovision fans, waving their country’s flag, singing and dancing. Some of the artists that performed at the Eurovision came out onto the streets to sing their songs. “One of the most visited places was the Eurovision Village, in Parco del Valentino. People had to wait in line to gain access,” explains Guido Cerrato, head of the Territorial Development and Market Regulation Area of the Turin Chamber of Commerce. The Eurovision Village is an open and free space for Eurovision fans (and everyone else) to enjoy concerts. It is also a place where brands and other organizations can promote themselves.
Differences and increases
The biggest increases in people was noted in public spaces, such as restaurants, cultural institutions and hotels, which registered more than 90% occupation for their rooms. To compare the growth in tourism, the municipality used data from 2019, pre pandemic. “The period of May has shown a historic record of the Turin airport, with countless arrivals and departures. This positive trend already started during easter and went on until after Eurovision. Eurovision was the peak, but the presence of other events also contributed to these historic numbers. The most important data for us is that 91% of the visitors that were interviewed in Turin, declared that they would return to the city. To us this means that we did good work,” says councillor Carretta.
Guido Cerrato mentions that there haven’t been this many foreign tourists for multiple days since the times of the 2006 Olympics.
The concept of legacy
The hype of the Eurovision week deflated quickly. “The dismantling of the Eurovision Village and other small events around the city left no more activities for the tourists. There were a few weeks before the Eurovision where there was a lot of movement, but two or three days afterwards it returned to normal again,” explains Guido Cerrato. “However, it is important to keep updating the promotions for Turin, through social media for example. We have to maintain visibility for the city.”
According to councillor Carretta, social media and foreign newspapers are describing Turin as a city that is worth visiting. “We must continue to propose a city that has enormous potential, and offers itself 365 days a year, showing various aspects. If 91% wants to return, we have to make sure that they see something different than during their last visit. Right now we are looking for new promotional partners and it has become easier to show the city to the rest of the world, compared to a few months ago. At the moment we have to look for the right approach and hope that the optimism that Eurovision brought to Turin becomes something constant and long term.”
Promotional campaigns and changing perceptions