FOCUS GROUP - MOLA DI BARI

On the 7th of August 2017, in Mola di Bari (Bari – Puglia – Italy), at the Office of the Local Action Group "Sud Est Barese" – a local development agency responsible for the implementation of CLLD and the multi‐fund approach (EMFF and EAFRD) in the period 2014‐2020 – a Local Focus Group was held.

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On the 7th of August 2017, in Mola di Bari (Bari – Puglia – Italy), at the Office of the Local Action Group "Sud Est Barese" – a local development agency responsible for the implementation of CLLD and the multi‐fund approach (EMFF and EAFRD) in the period 2014‐2020 – a Local Focus Group was held. 

The Focus Group was composed of a limited number of persons so to ensure the active participation in the discussion by all of them.All fishermen in the room agreed on the target chosen: tourists (local and foreigners) looking for an experience different from the mainstream ones are, undoubtedly, the main target.

They underlined that the most of the time, they are families or groups of friends. Interesting to highlight, the experience told by Mr. Giuseppe Conversano, a lawyer who is in charge of marketing for fishing‐tourism "Francesco" – the activity run by his two older brothers, both fishermen. Some weeks ago, an important meeting and event company asking to arrange – in summer 2018 – a fishing tourism experience for 40 decorated chefs contacted him: they clearly asked for a very intensive experience allowing them to "touch" the work of professional fishermen. The program will include live show cooking on land at the end of the trip, preparing and serving the fish caught. 

This story lead participants to the consideration that there are "un‐explored" segments which could be much more profitable than the present ones and that, for this reason, should be analyzed much more in‐depth. Having agreed  on the kind of customer segment to target, it is clear that all fishermen shared the idea that – at least, at the current stage – the activity should intercept the needs of customers looking for what is better known as "experiential tourism".This means that fishermen should be able to provide them with diverse experiences that match their interests and give them a sense of personal accomplishment, thereby creating their own unique memories. The only way this can happen is through the sharing of cultural elements in an atmosphere of traditional ways of life and telling customers "the story of the place".

Since personal relationship with the customer is the core part of the service offered, the dialogue between fishermen and tourists is fundamental.Unfortunately the low level of education in fishermen communities does not help it: "We let tourists understand us by mimicking gestures and signs" – said Mr. Francesco Comes, captain of the vessel "Sandokan III" – "and they love this!".But nonetheless, all participants agreed on the fact that it is essential that during the training sessions of the project fishermen are introduced to foreign languages (at least English) and taught about marketing techniques as well. 

All participants agreed on the fact that almost all their clients contact them based on what they have heard from friends having already experienced fishing tourism or what they have seen on Facebook "the channel - said one of the participant - which provide us with the highest visibility; every time I post pictures and videos of my last trip, my cellphone keep on ringing and ringing".All participants suggested to introduce some training session on "social media marketing" given that they are largely self‐taught or, at best, they ask for help from younger family members."I do not agree with the statement that fishing tourism is very likely to be a one‐off service" concluded Mr. Giuseppe Conversano: "We more than often guest customers – mostly local ones – having already experienced our fishing tourism, who want to repeat the experience with some new friends".

 

 

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