OLYMPICS Italy and China to strengthen ties through winter sports

OLYMPICS

Italy and China to strengthen ties through winter sports

CGTN

16:48, November 25, 2021

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Italy is working to strengthen its sporting and cultural ties with China ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics next year and the winter games of Milan-Cortina in 2026.

The Italian Alps are striking and unique but are mostly enjoyed by European neighbors.

Ski master Valerio Malfatto is working to change that, by taking the Italian ski style to China.

"I was in China five times from 2018 to early 2020 and their passion to learn more about the Italian technique made me very enthusiastic about future possibilities."

Valerio founded the Jam Session Ski Academy alongside his two brothers in 1986.

Their latest project, called "22/26" aims to bridge the upcoming Winter Olympics in China with those in Italy four years later. It also aims to boost tourism between the two countries while promoting the development of winter sports on both sides.

"The idea is that between the winter games in Beijing and those in Milan/Cortina, there are four years to develop a collaboration between the different worlds of the Chinese and Italian mountains and mountain sports," explains Malfatto.

To achieve this, they have joined forces with media company NeveItalia and tourism company Snow.it to help communicate what Italy's mountains can offer.

Angelo Bonorino is the founder of NeveItalia.

"We have already collaborated with our Chinese partners during a fair in Beijing a few weeks ago and it was an important event for us to understand the potential of the Chinese market."

China is a big potential market for winter sports in Italy. /CGTN Europe

To tap into that potential, the Italian tourism industry is working to offer a more personalized experience for the Chinese skier and traveller.

Pasquale Scopelliti is the CEO of Snow.it, a one-stop-shop for Italian ski holidays. He says: "We want to create an offer that is tailored to the Chinese market in order to let the Chinese tourist feel at home when they come to the Italian Alps."

The campaign will also focus on the geography of the Italian Alps, within reach of lakes such as Como and Garda and cities including Milan, Verona and Venice.

The aim of the 22/26 project is not just to combine the shared passion of winter sports, but to also exchange cultural values, such as the food, architecture and lifestyle of the "Made in Italy" brand.

"In terms of food, for example, we feel very close to the Chinese people because they also have an important culinary culture and are famous for their cuisine," says Malfatto.

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