The Italian tourism industry hopes to bring more Japanese visitors to less-traveled destinations in the country’s rural areas, a senior official of the Italian State Tourism Board said.

On Tuesday, the board held a workshop in Tokyo to exchange views and ideas with 43 Italian tourism industry representatives and Japanese travel agents to discuss new types of tours that may appeal to Japanese visitors. As the second-largest country in the world after the United States in terms of tourism revenues, the travel industry in Italy appears to have already reached a level of maturity.

But the industry is trying to offer something new to attract people to repeatedly come to Italy, said Piergiorgio Togni, director general of the board.

“We want people to come to our less known villages because you can get more hospitality and peaceful atmosphere with less price and less congestion,” Togni said, noting that his country wants tourists to visit regions outside the widely known urban destinations and actually experience life in the countryside.

“We can offer anything (to meet the unique demands of any kind of people)” Togni stressed.

According to Togni, the tourism board organizes such workshops with Japanese travel agents every two or three years, but this year it is putting in a greater effort because of the ongoing Italian 2001 Year in Japan event.

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