Destinations Makers Use Sustainable Tourism to Revive Neglected Italian Cities

Southern Italy's per capita GDP is 45.8 percent lower than Northern Italy's. Despite this alarming statistic, many Southern Italians believe that the unique beauty and overlooked potential of their country could sustain them financially through tourism alone.

Emma Taveri, co-founder of Destination Makers, is exploring strategies to make this vision a reality, and doing it in a way that strengthens local culture instead of diluting it. Taveri believes that tourism is intimately connected to the well-being of travelers and locals alike. But this vision to revive Southern Italy through sustainable tourism has come at a cost for her and her partner, Marco Gentile.

Unsatisfied with the dull routine of office jobs, the couple wondered if there was more to life than paper pushing. They wanted to change lives, develop a new destination model that helped struggling cities, and ensure real value for real people. Together, they took a leap of faith and risked stable jobs to make their dream a reality.

Brindisi Is My Destination was their first experiment in Apulian city of Brindisi, once known primarily as a hub for cigarette smuggling. It marked the start of their new career and spawned an exciting a new social enterprise. Destination Makers was born soon after building on what the couple learned in Brindisi. It is a network of allies who share Taveri and Gentile's vision of "happy destinations" around the world. I recently caught up with Emma Taveri, co-founder and dreams developer at Destination Makers, to learn more about their experiments in sustainable tourism.

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