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Ischia: a new way of thinking about tourism

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Ischia: a new way of thinking about tourism

A few months ago we received the email of Federico, who told us that, when he was still a child, he was our guest with his family.
Now Federico is a writer, a journalist and a hotel manager. 
The German newspaper marke41 that tells about excellences of marketing asked Federico to make an article on ischia that explains how the marketing placement of the facilities of ischia changed from the past and what are the future prospects of the green island. 
After a long time, he remembered that lovely hotel of Sant'Angelo of Ischia. 
Federico investigates if the property was always the same, what changed over time and in the end decided to tell a beautiful story.
The story of two guys Renate, a young German tourist guide and Antonio, a young boy from Milan who always had brilliant and crazy ideas. 
In the 60s they fell in love with this wonderful island and decided to believe in a dream. The name of that dream was Romantica.

Photo: Renate and Antonio 1963

It's been more than 50 years ago and the two lovers are gone... but the Romantica family still believe in that dream, doing hospitality with love day by day with a typical Italian romanticism but with purely German behavior and values
Thank you, Federico, for telling this beautiful story.
Thank you from the Rossi family, the Romantica staff, the entire island of ischia and from Renate and Antonio, who over 50 years ago decided that ischia and the Romantica were their dreams!


Here is the article wrote by Friedrich M. Kirn for the journal Marke41. Translation by Romantica Resort & Spa.
Here is the original version in German

Photo: From the article of Marke41 pages 4-5

Ischia Diva with Ambitions - Preface by Friedrich M. Kirn for Marke41

If you decide to spend the summer in the enchanting Gulf of Naples, and you are looking for some rest, I recommend you to visit Ischia.
Since ancient times, the rich Romans loved the island and chose it as a destination to build their villas.
Then in the 1950s, the international jet set discovered Mediterranean life, and for decades, German and Austrian tourists looking for some thermal wellness loaded the beautiful island. This has contributed to the great boom of Ischia's tourism. 
Hotels of the different category were born. All the hotels were equipped with thermal facilities and swimming pools. 
At the time it was thought that this phenomenon could continue forever.
Unfortunately, the German health insurance funds stopped financing the "curative tourism" therefore today Ischia is forced
to reposition itself as a tourism destination.
Let's find out how with Dr. Alessia Peraro (page 50), Marketing Manager of the Romantica Resort & SPA, Sant'Angelo, Ischia.

Photo: From the article of Marke41 page 45

Romantica Resort & Spa - A new way of thinking about tourism

"This is the most beautiful place in the world", thought Renate Roth when she arrived for the first time in Sant'Angelo, on 
the island of Ischia, thanks to a fisherman from the Amalfi Coast.


Photo: Renate Roth 1965

Thanks to decades of work, Renate and her family have realized their dream of a life in the Gulf of Naples: the Romantica Resort & SPA.
Now, with the third generation, the family also takes responsibility for the destination.
Thus, hoteliers focus on values of fundamental importance such as a long tradition, the sustainability of life and the 
honest respect for beauty and the vulnerability of nature.

Photo: Sant'Angelo, Ischia island 1957

The great film director Luchino Visconti lived his last years in Ischia in his breathtaking villa "La Colombaia".
"Maybe it is because of the unique light, the pure beauty of nature and the overwhelming fragrances that Ischia seems so magical and it fascinates people", says Dr. Alessia Peraro on the terrace of the Romantica Resort & SPA from which the view of the sea and the neighboring island of Capri is so beautiful that it looks like a scene from Cinecittà.
The young manager of the hotelier family Rossi is now responsible for the marketing of the four-star resort and is the granddaughter of the founders.
"In the 1980s, our brand and name were well-positioned under the name of Park hotel & Therme Romantica. In the last 3 years, however, we have significantly adapted our offer, we expanded it and reoriented it in terms of brands. That's why we have chosen to change the brand and the name to create the new Romantica Resort & SPA brand ", explains Peraro.

Photo: From the article of Marke41 pages 46-47

The beginnings of tourism in Ischia

Already at the beginning of the 20th century, Ischia became a destination for well-known artists. Writers and painters from all over the world have been magically attracted
from this enchanting place. Eduard Bargheer, Hans Purrmann, and Arrigo Wittler lived on the island. Rudolf Levy, Werner Gilles, Max Peiffer Watenphul stayed for long periods in Ischia just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Together with Kurt Craemer and Vincent Weber, they chose the fishing village on the southern tip of Sant'Angelo d'Ischia to draw the best inspiration for their works. In the early 1950s, Forio was full of writers, composers and visual artists including Ingeborg Bachmann.
During that period, Ischia was "discovered" as a tourist destination of excellence. Shortly thereafter, the publisher and film producer Angelo Rizzoli arrived on the island by chance and fell in love with it. In 1956 he built the luxury hotel Albergo della Regina Isabella in the idyllic and exclusive bay of Lacco Ameno. To give a strong impulse to the new business of the island, in 1956 Rizzoli produced the Italian comedy "Vacanze a Ischia".
From that moment, the jet set and the film industry chose the island as a location for various international and national productions.
Billy Wilder's comedy "Avanti" (1972) gave Ischia the perfect film set and some classics like "The Black Corsair"(1936)
with Burt Lancaster and "Cleopatra" (1963) with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton contributed to the fame of the island at that time.
Alain Delon also acted in Ischia in 1960 with "Purple noon" and with "The Talented Mr. Ripley", thanks to which the island conquered Hollywood in 1997.

Image of a spa destination

Ischia has been an important destination for tourist routes since the 1950s. There were counted up to five million presences per year on the island,
where today live only 70,000 residents.
"Ischia is not at all glamorous like Capri, here we focus on experiential tourism, the one which will let tourists rediscover flavors, nature, and well-being.
Unfortunately, for some time, we have been linked to the image of a destination for retired people".
This belief due to the over 500,000 German tourists who chose Ischia in the 1970s and 1980s to enjoy the benefits of the thermal water as well as the enchanting landscape. Ischia offers accommodation of all categories, excellent gastronomy and over 100 thermal springs scattered throughout the island.
The Romans also appreciated the thermal baths of Ischia and benefited from the mud treatments to cure arthrosis and rheumatism.
"This old image of a paradise for retired lovers of beauty has become a problem for Ischia as well as for other Italian destinations such as Abano Terme. 
We must be able to dissociate ourselves from a specific target aiming to create the brand of the destination and of the consequent offer. 
This is the only way to follow to improve our destiny, "says Alessia Peraro.

Photo: From the article of Marke41 pages 48-49

Ischia, the wellness island
Today, like many other hoteliers, the young manager Peraro works for the repositioning of the brand.
"Nowadays, Ischia attracts tourists from all over the world which have totally different ideas about holidays and relaxation. 
There are those who are attracted by the beauty nature of the island and the possibility to do trekking and excursions. There are some incredible initiatives such as "Walking through paths" where specialized guides recognized by the CAI will escort small groups discovering the old paths of ischia from which it is possible to admire stunning views. Others choose Ischia for the great gastronomic tradition to which in recent years
has been joined by top-level wineries.
Others choose Ischia for the incredible sea. In fact, the green island has a protected marine area and great biodiversity. Here it is recommended snorkeling or diving with Padi guides. 
Many still choose us for the unique spas and thermal park for which we remain one of our best destination in the world.
Thermal water should always be at the center of our offer. Of course, we need to change the well-being interpretation to reposition the destination and our offer.
We have no longer talk about thermal treatments but focus on the SPA concept based on thermal water. Moreover, we need to expand the catchment area to those who are interested in preventing diseases or, even better, just respecting their bodies with specific treatments and 'vanguard. 
The aim is to get an ageless target that seeks well-being and relaxation ", Peraro underlines.
This has very concrete effects at the Romantica Resort & SPA. "In our large Resort enriched by a thermal park with 13 thermal baths, very spacious gardens and several restaurants, young guests or young couples find a perfect place to regenerate themselves and enjoy a dream vacation like families", says Peraro.
"Our wellness center has a wide offer to satisfy every desire concerning well-being, moreover, we offer daily free water aerobics and yoga courses.
Furthermore, recent research has established that spas and mud packs or inhalation treatments are much more useful for prevention than for care existing diseases. This repositioning has made us even more interesting as a destination for weekends as an escapes to relaxation, in particular for couples", says Peraro. "Furthermore, thanks to the increase in flights to Naples Airport, the number of international guests is constantly increasing and drives us to continuously improve our offer with the ultimate aim of maximizing personalization for the customer's interest", explains Peraro.

Despite all the love for the Romantica Resort & SPA, Peraro thinks outside the box and dreams of Ischia as a brand. 
"With joint initiatives and offers, we could specialize in the production and give the possibility, to those who choose Ischia as a destination for their holidays, 
to experience the island individually in its various aspects and in an experiential way, giving an inestimable added value for our guests ", points out Peraro.
"We should improve our situation respecting our territory, standing as ambassadors of sustainable tourism for our island".
The most valuable asset for tourism on Ischia is an incredible nature. That is the way there are strict rules for the treatment of wastewater and waste on the island. There are successful initiatives by municipalities and individual companies to avoid plastic waste, as in the case of the Romantica Resort & Spa.
"The return of dolphins, clean beaches and good water quality are just some of the many aspects that make the island so attractive", concludes Peraro:
"All this pushes me and my colleagues, as the whole new generation of tourism, to raise awareness and uphold respect for beauty and
the vulnerability of nature".

Repositioning of the Ischia brand
Interview with Dott.ssa Alessia Peraro, Romantica Resort & SPA, Sant'Angelo, Ischia island.

Photo: From the article of Marke41 pages 50-51

Le destinazioni turistiche di tutto il mondo sono in competizione feroce fra di loro per ottenere il favore dei turisti del mondo. 
Cosa significa questo per Ischia?

Ischia, dopo la fase di boom dovuto alle stelle del cinema e al jet set, ha vissuto tempi d'oro per alcuni decenni, grazie anche alla cultura del turismo termale. Le nostre sorgenti termali, l'ampia offerta di impianti termali e la spettacolare natura incontaminata rendono ischia unica al mondo. 
Inoltre, l'isola offre una vasta gamma di alloggi di alta qualità ed eccellenti offerte gastronomiche in ogni fascia di prezzo. Ma i tempi sono cambiati. 
A causa del cambio generazionale, Ischia ha perso la propria clientela "preferita", composta da turisti tedeschi e austriaci, molto fedeli alla destinazione e 
dalla capacità di spesa elevata. A peggiorare le cose, è stata la riduzione significativa dei benefici riservati dalle assicurazioni nel settore dell'assistenza sanitaria. Fino a qualche decennio fa, infatti, le prestazioni termali venivano sovvenzionate e di conseguenza le destinazioni turistiche a carattere terapeutico venivano notevolmente incentivate dalle politiche nazionali. A questo si sommava ovviamente anche il cambio favorevole del marco tedesco rispetto alla nostra lira. Tutte queste contingenze hanno causato una notevole riduzione degli ospiti con vocazione termale ed essendo rimasti ancorati ad un'offerta turistica legata alle vacanze terapeutiche, siamo risultati per lungo tempo poco appetibili per altri target, nonostante le nostre infinite bellezze.
Che conseguenze ha oggi?
Ischia deve reinventarsi!
Il processo è già in atto, finora, però, l'abbiamo subito passivamente peccando di ignoranza e saccenza.
Le nostre risorse naturali e in particolare le sorgenti termali hanno svolto, svolgono e dovranno svolgere un ruolo centrale per la nostra offerta. 
L'isola ha oltre 100 emergenze sorgive tra campi fumarolici e bacini idrotermali che emergono dal sottosuolo con una diversa composizione minerale. 
L'acqua termale è presente in quasi tutti i punti dell'isola.
Per diventare di nuovo interessante come destinazione termale?
Stiamo lavorando a un cambio di immagine. Vogliamo allontanarci dall'idea delle cure termali e fare nostro il concetto di benessere termale legato 
all'attenzione e al benessere del proprio corpo. Ovviamente del nuovo target fanno parte anche i turisti più giovani e la fascia di età media.
Quindi il marchio Ischia sperimenta una sorta di aggiornamento?
Questo è il punto. Non si tratta solo di servizi termali innovativi, settimane di yoga e gite guidate sul campo, ma di un tipo di turismo completamente diverso. 
Il futuro appartiene al turismo sostenibile e all'esperienza cliente originale. Le persone vogliono vivere Ischia singolarmente in tutta la sua bellezza e abbondanza. Ove possibile, dovrebbero essere istituite zone completamente pedonali come a Sant'Angelo e nel medio periodo dovremmo spostare il traffico verso l'e-mobility. Sono fiduciosa che nei prossimi anni modernizzeremo con successo il marchio Ischia e saremo ancora più attraenti come destinazione turistica incentrata sul benessere ma in una chiave di lettura completamente inedita.


Tourist destinations around the world are competing fiercely each other to gain the favor of world tourists.
What does this mean for Ischia?

Ischia, after the boom phase, due to movie stars and the jet set, has experienced golden times for a few decades, thanks also to the culture of thermal tourism. Our thermal springs, the wide range of thermal facilities and the spectacular uncontaminated nature make the island unique in the world.
Moreover, the island offers a wide range of high-quality accommodation and excellent gastronomic offers for every price range. But times have changed.
Due to the generational change, Ischia has lost its "favorite" guests, composed by German and Austrian tourists, very faithful to the destination and
with a high spending capacity. To make matters worse, it has been a significant reduction in insurance benefits reserved in the health care sector. 
Until a few decades ago, in fact, spa services and wellness treatments like thermal muds were subsidized and consequently "therapeutic" destinations like ischia were greatly encouraged by germans national policies. Moreover, there was also a favorable exchange of Mark/Lira. 
All these contingencies have caused a noticeable reduction in the number of guests with a spa purpose. So Ischia having remained anchored to a tourist offer linked to therapeutic holidays, the destination has long been unattractive to other targets, despite the infinite beauty of the island.
What are its consequences today?
Ischia must reinvent itself!
The process is already underway, however, so far, we have just passively sinning due to our ignorance and presumption.
Our natural resources and in particular the thermal springs have played, play and must play in future a central role for our offer.
The island has over 100 emergencies between fumarolic fields and hydrothermal basins that emerge from the subsoil with different mineral composition.
Thermal water is present in almost all parts of the island.
What to do to become interesting again as a spa destination?
We are working to change our image. We want to get away from the idea of curative spa treatments and give the idea of thermal well-being 
Obviously, the new target also includes younger tourists along as other kinds of age group.
So the Ischia brand experiences a sort of update?
This is the point. It is not just about innovative spa services, yoga weeks and guided trips, but a completely different type of tourism.
The future belongs to sustainable tourism and the original customer experience. People want to live Ischia individually in all its beauty.
Wherever possible, it is necessary to create completely pedestrian zones like as in Sant'Angelo and in the medium term, we should move traffic to e-mobility. I am confident that in the coming years we will successfully modernize the Ischia brand and we will be even more 
attractive as a tourist destination focused on well-being but in a completely new interpretation.

Original Article by Friedrich M. Kirn per Marke41. Translation by Romantica Resort & Spa 
Here is the Article in german


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