Record Attendance for the Eighth Salone del Gusto
25 Oct 10
The eighth Salone del Gusto, Slow Food’s biannual food festival, came to a close today, Monday October 25. The five days of the event attracted record numbers of visitors to Turin’s Lingotto Fiere, with total attendance estimated at over 200,000.
The closing press conference, held this afternoon, was attended by the Piedmont Regional Authority’s councilor for education, sport and tourism, Alberto Cirio; the City of Turin’s councilor for trade, tourism, productive activities and urban marketing Alessandro Altamura, and the president of Slow Food Italy, Roberto Burdese.
Roberto Burdese began by reflecting on the event from three points of view: political, organizational and numerical. From a political perspective, this edition confirms the union between the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, clearly evident from the political and educational continuity between the two events. “This is the Salone del Gusto in its maturity and it has been one of the best editions of Terra Madre in terms of the sediment of ideas and projects it leaves behind it. The continuity between the two events has been shown by the extraordinary attendance of the conferences, particularly those dealing with environmental and social issues like land grabbing and sustainable packaging, and of Slow Food’s educational initiatives, with 5,000 adults participating in the ‘Slow Food Educa’ activities and over 1,000 children taking part in the education course.”
From an organizational point of view, Burdese said: “We have had very appreciative feedback about the decision to divide the market by geographical area. The exhibitors are satisfied; they’ve made important contacts within the sector and they had fun. We haven’t seen so many happy faces for some time.” Coming to the numbers, he said that while it was difficult to make a exact assessment, the goal of attracting over 200,000 visitors had been reached. “Among these, 30% were from outside Italy,” he said. “Compared to 2008, we sold more books, which shows a cultural change taking place in the Salone’s visitors, compared to the first edition in 1996. The new Slow Wine guide has been a great success, and so, unexpectedly, has been Il piacere dell’orto, about vegetable gardening, both Slow Food Editore titles.”
In conclusion, Burdese highlighted how the success of the just-concluded event confirms that the food-production sector is strategic for Italy. “Today, more than ever, it needs to be supported by investments, and above all by planning skills. It must become one of the fundamental pillars of the national economy.”
Next to speak was Alessandro Altamura of the City of Turin. “This event is another step towards Turin becoming the true Italian capital of food and wine. The numbers support our aim: We have moved from 180,000 visitors in 2008 to over 200,000 this year, while in terms of exhibitors the 620 of the last edition have now become 910. And this is in spite of the economic crisis and the cuts that we too have had to make. Once again, the positive outcome of this event belongs to everyone: to the city, to the region and to everyone who has worked with us.”
“Events like the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, together with other important events like, for example, the Salone del Libro book fair, are real and important international showcases, and need to be further promoted,” he continued.
Regional Councilor Alberto Cirio closed the conference, saying, “The Salone del Gusto together with Terra Madre has been confirmed as one of the greatest Piedmontese events of national and international significance. With its 200,000 visitors, it contributes in an important way to the tourism and commercial activities of this region and at the same time has the capacity and authority to inspire a profound reflection on food and the global community it represents. The regional authority will continue to support it as Slow Food’s partner, taking all the measures necessary to guarantee the event’s success.”