|Agerola from Tre Calli|
I have just been reading an article about the preparations being made in Agerola for the start of the new tourist season which, for them, is just a couple of weeks away.
Agerola is particularly privileged in having on its doorstep the Path of the Gods , however it is also well placed for other stunning trails: the Valley delle Ferriere, the Tre Calli, the Pino Ravine (also known as Sentiero di Abu Tabela) and many more. From all accounts the clearing and cleaning of the trails is already underway, funded by the tourist tax, since "tourists are our guests and our first task is to clean our house".
Over the past few years Agerola has become increasingly popular as a centre for hiking with an increase in just 4 years of 300% in bookings at its hotels, B&Bs and agriturismo. This is widely merit of the co-operation between the local authorities and tourist operators who have understood not only where to concentrate their efforts, but also that each needs the other to be successful.
This year they are aiming at a season lasting 10 months which is several months longer than is generally the case in the Sorrento peninsula. Here the season starts around Easter, (which this year is early, but can be mid April), but is over and done with by the end of October.
Whilst Agerola is busy preparing its trails, the local council of Massa Lubrense was promoting its own territory at the BIT Trade Fair for Tourism in Milan, keen perhaps to follow Agerola's example and use the network of trails and the natural beauty of the Sorrento peninsula as a selling point to entice more visitors to our area. This is good news, but now we need to see results, and these will depend not only on the cooperation of the local businesses but also on the ability of the authorities to put actions into words.
Sorrento, as we know, is content to limit itself to the business supplied by the international tour companies with their back to back 7 and 14 night holidays. Visitors get herded to Pompeii, Vesuvius, Capri and the Amalfi Coast but see and experience little more. They spend their money in the town and everyone is happy.
Massa Lubrense however needs to concentrate on something different and more specialised, especially since in recent years the holiday season has shrunk alarmingly, with the place packed out at weekends and in July and August, but not at any other time.As anyone who follows my blog will know, we have some fantastic trails and spectacular scenery in this area. There is no reason at all why we cannot follow the example of Agerola and not only increase the number of walkers to this area, but also lengthen the season, something which can only be beneficial to us all.