Do you believe that #eventscreatechange? We do! We believe in the power and positive impact that sustainable events can have on local communities and the environment at large.

But to move in this direction and make a real difference, we need to look for the right event planning partner. This means choosing an expert company determined in guiding you to create an event that:

  • respects the environment as much as it is possible;
  • contributes to preserving the local heritage without spoiling the event destination;
  • embraces and applies concepts of the ‘Race To Zero’ global campaign.

We believe that if event organisers and travel planners are determined to follow the sustainability road, it will become easier to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and, more generally, to create a positive change.

What does ‘sustainability’ mean when applied to events and travel?

There are many aspects to consider when choosing a sustainable events company in 2022. You want to make sure it takes practical steps to apply sustainability instead of just using it as a buzzword.

‘Sustainable’ means that the event planning company…

  • Shares with you their knowledge about the event destination, recommending lesser-known places and explaining the importance of valuing the local heritage. For example, at Italian Special Occasions (ISO), we invite our clients to think outside the box and consider alternatives to Florence, Rome and Venice. Italy is full of fabulous event destinations off the beaten path waiting to be discovered in a structured, educated manner.
  • Makes you think about the season in which you want to organise your event. Did you choose a period of the year that is very popular among travellers and event planners? Will it help create or avoid mass tourism? We love proposing the ideal region-season combinations to minimise the impact on the environment and create steady income flows for the local community. Choosing the low season potentially also means lower costs for you, related to hospitality and travel fares.
  • Already wrote about and promoted sustainability before the era of Covid-19. The pandemic has only now led many businesses to start talking about eco-friendliness and resilience. But some have been committed to this issue since their founding years ago, such as Italian Special Occasions. Check out our blog articles on sustainability and seasonality: they go as far back as 2014!
  • Invites you to diversify the activities you choose for your event. Are you going for trendy experiences? We recommend looking for authenticity not in the ‘luxury’ or ‘popularity’ defined by the market but in the powerful emotions that simple activities can stir in you. This not only avoids more mass tourism but also allows you to discover new, unique experiences that bring you closer to the local destination and its community.
  • Recommends spending more time in a destination, exploring it and savouring it at a slow pace instead of “touch and go”. This allows you to give more to the local community and rediscover the joys of Slow Travel.
  • Wants you to also focus on your well-being or the well-being of your event attendees. How? For example, by incorporating physical activities such as yoga and hiking, offering a healthy meal plan throughout the event, and choosing creativity-boosting activities like painting or craft-making workshops.
  • Proposes hybrid and virtual events to guarantee inclusion and participation. In fact, by doing so, you can allow many people to participate in case of travel limitations.
  • Gets you to think about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and about how your event can help achieve them. Which goal or goals will your event help advance? At ISO, we are happy to help you identify ways of measuring the impact of your event both in terms of the SDGs and of its carbon footprint. We are committed to the net-zero carbon target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Gives you precise indications on how to make your event as eco-friendly as possible. Examples include going plastic-free and reducing the use of paper and water during the event; choosing a solar-powered and water-efficient venue; using organic, seasonal and locally sourced food; encouraging the use of trains, bicycles and sailboats for activities and for covering feasible distances within the event destination.
  • Recommends working with local artists and artisans to create your corporate awards, party favours or souvenirs of the event. This allows you to have a bespoke item that fully represents your brand and the local event destination while helping small businesses. Another great idea is to opt for Fair Trade Certified goods!

Let’s go practical: our 10-day sustainable incentive trip during Covid-19

In autumn 2021, we successfully carried out a wonderful 10-day incentive trip for an American client, fully respecting our sustainability criteria and all the Covid-19 safety protocols.

We custom-designed and organised the event with the client based on three main criteria: seasonality; local flavours; and mixing known and unknown destinations while diversifying the activities.

Our client wished to stay in Venice. Our founder Laura proposed nearby Mogliano Veneto as a more sustainable alternative, explaining the pros and limits of both destinations. Our proposal was accepted, and our client’s group ended up staying in a gorgeous and authentic villa full of history!

Villa Condulmer is one of the historical Venetian Villas: among its illustrious guests was Giuseppe Verdi, the Italian composer known for operas like Nabucco, Aida and Rigoletto. It was right in this villa that Verdi revised and re-wrote La Traviata to finally become the timeless success that we know today. The villa’s eighteenth-century park takes your breath away… You can admire two monumental cedars, rare plants and century-old trees. Staying in a historical place like this helps preserve the building and maintain the identity and heritage of the site.

One of the reasons our client realised that it was not ideal to stay in Venice was that it is a mass tourism destination. Despite all that the government and local institutions have promised over the years, Venice (and other famous art cities) continue to be packed in the same months of the year, creating mass flows and negatively impacting the environment. Our client fully embraced our philosophy of staying in a nearby destination and exploring Venice differently. How?

We hired a slow boat to navigate the Sile River and discover Venice from its islands! This is where the city’s history started, and today the lagoon offers hidden gems with beautiful buildings and wild nature. As part of our activity diversification, we ate on the island of Torcello and visited the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta. It is a notable example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture and one of Veneto’s most ancient religious buildings. The slow-boat ride allowed the incentive group to admire the lagoon’s wildlife and unique ecosystem. On the way back, at night, the sky was full of stars, and we could admire the constellations… it was breathtaking!

Our incentive in Venice would not be complete without trying some authentic Venetian food in a ‘cicchetteria’. We stopped in one to try the delicious ‘cicchetti’, a sort of Venetian “fast food” that is all about quality! These typical finger food dishes are based on fresh fish and the best meat, often served on bread or polenta.

Our exploration of local flavours continued in the territory of Franciacorta, known for its wine production. How did we end up in Lombardy? Our client had initially mentioned wanting to visit Lake Garda, which extends between the regions of Lombardy and Veneto (where Venice and Mogliano Veneto are located). We asked whether the client would be interested in an alternative place, Lake Iseo, which is just as beautiful but with fewer tourists around. The answer was yes! Two things particularly intrigued our client: the possibility of tasting the “Bollicine” and of enjoying physical activities between the pristine nature and the idyllic villages.

The first recorded evidence of Franciacorta’s wine production dates to the 8th century AD. This territory is also home to the amazing Bollicine, or sparkling wines. It is known that fine sparkling white wines were being produced for a demanding clientele already in the thirteenth century. We visited one of the local wineries of excellence – Berlucchi – during our incentive trip. Here is where, in 1961, count Guido Berlucchi and oenologist Franco Ziliani developed the first bottle of Franciacorta Metodo Classico. And our group had the honour of savouring the centuries of history in a guided wine tasting right here! This unique and enriching experience took place inside the ancient and beautiful Palazzo Lana, which the owners of the Berlucchi Winery opened exclusively for us.

The incentive trip around Lake Iseo included regenerating activities in nature. The participants were stunned by the beauty of the panoramas as they hiked or rode e-bikes. We believe that these activities are great for the mind and soul and help create a different and more genuine network among the participants. Since we were in Italy’s “lake district”, we also went for a boat ride in another nearby lake – the charming Lake Como. Sailing its waters in the low season is an experience that must be tried at least once. The sense of peace and union with nature is refreshing, and you also help the local community that usually only benefits from three months of mass tourism during peak season.

At the end of the incentive, our client’s group returned to the USA with a new sense of purpose and well-being, solid connections between people and nature, and unforgettable memories. For us, it was a joy, a challenge and a success – the culmination of a process that had started two years before with our meticulous site inspections around Venice.

Are you looking for a sustainable events company in Italy?

At Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events, we pride ourselves on planning and executing extraordinary events. What all our events have in common – in addition to being sustainable and compliant with Covid-19 regulations – is that they offer a different, pure view of Italy.

Let us help you plan your sustainable corporate event! We are happy to offer you a free consultation for your next incentive trip to Italy. You can reach us via email , phone +39 0564 813 473 or WhatsApp +39 329 769 2116.

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