Routes Reconnected: Milan to host World Routes 2021 and the 2026 Winter Games

Milan to host World Routes 2021 and the 2026 Winter Games (7)

Milan is to host World Routes 2021 and the 2026 Winter Games. We chat with four key people to see what they’re doing to get the Milan, Bergamo, and Lombardy areas going again, while preparing for these two key events.  They are: Maria Elena Rossi, Marketing and Promotion Director, ENIT (the national tourism agency); Vittorino Capobianco, Head of Destination Management, SEA Milan Airports; Andrea Tucci, Vice President, SEA Milan Airports; and Giacomo Cattaneo, Director of Commercial Aviation, Milan Bergamo Airport (SACBO). Milan’s Duomo Cathedral is shown here. What are the key factors that will help routes to/from Milan to properly get going again?

The implementation of high security and hygiene standards at the airports. The expectations of airlines and passengers are likely to be higher than ever for cleanliness, safety, and convenience.

SEA Milan Airports (Malpensa and Linate) and Milan Bergamo Airport are fully compliant with the Italian government’s safety measures having implemented a full range of rules.  These include social distancing rules, information to passengers, health checks, cleaning and sanitisation, and swab tests at the airports.

Moreover, we invested in innovation to reduce possible risks for passengers and to make the travel experience more and more touchless and seamless.

Another key factor is the need for new common European rules to restart safely together: the execution of a common protocol rapid tests at the airports by all EU countries with the aim to regain passenger confidence in air transport.

Finally, rebuilding the confidence of airlines and passengers towards the destination, communicating the safety standards implemented locally, and developing initiatives to promote the destination in collaboration with stakeholders.

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The Lombardy region, where Milan and Bergamo are located, combines big-city experiences and natural treasures.  In this photo is Valtellina Vigne, known for wine with remarkable hills and hill paths; check it out on Google!

Why should someone visit the Milan region?

Milan is Italy’s fashion and financial capital and is home to the country’s main stock exchange, big businesses, and a flourishing start-up scene. The shopping experience offered by Milan is unique.

The city has a priceless cultural patrimony: the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, the Castello Sforzesco, and the Duomo Cathedral are just some of the world-renowned attractions that belong here.

Milan is at the heart of the Lombardy region that features natural treasures of great charm, alongside an artistic and cultural heritage of great value.

Lombardy is graced with enchanting landscapes and scenery, such as the Alps and the stunning Lakes Garda, Maggiore, Como, and Iseo.

The region boasts 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than 300 museums, and a rich culinary tradition. The Lombardy region is the land of enchanting cities of art like Bergamo with the ancient upper town of Bergamo Alta and the medieval great walls protected by UNESCO.

Milan to host World Routes 2021 and the 2026 Winter Games

Milan is associated with shopping, with Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Italy’s oldest active shopping mall.  © Comune di Milano.

What is the Milan region doing to get tourists back?

In 2019 the number of international tourist arrivals in Italy peaked at 65 million. In Lombardy, international arrivals reached 9.5 million, with over 4.5 million in Milan and 515,000 in Bergamo.

Of course, these numbers have declined in 2020 due to the pandemic. The stakeholders are working to rebuild the confidence towards the destination in terms of implementation of strict security measures in public spaces, hotels, museums, restaurants, etc. Other important initiatives have been taken at a national and local level for the restart of tourism in Italy.

ENIT, Italy’s national tourism agency, invested in promotional campaign focused on the Italian cities to rebuild the confidence of tourists. Sustainable mobility at a local level has been encouraged in Milan and Bergamo to improve air quality with the creation of new cycle paths and a wide offer of sharing mobility services. 

Promotional initiatives have been implemented to attract tourists back to Milan.   A “Fly to Milano” campaign was launched to encourage a longer stay in the destination, and the campaign “neighborhood by neighborhood” to discover hidden gems in the city for a new way of experiencing Milan.

Milan to host World Routes 2021 and the 2026 Winter Games

At 8,920 feet (2,720 metres), Monte Aga is located within the Bergamo Alps.

How has SEA been investing for the future?

SEA has been investing in innovation for years now. An example of this is Face Boarding, the biometric technology based on the facial recognition system. This service is currently being tested only for flights to and from Rome Fiumicino, but it will be subsequently extended.

The journey has become even more touchless at Milan Airports thanks to the arrival of the new EDS-CB machines with TAC technology for hand luggage checks. Thanks to TAC technology, passengers no longer must open their baggage to extract liquids and electronic devices at security checks.

We are the first in Europe to carry out all hand luggage checks with TAC machines.

Moreover, SEA Milan Airports are implementing the new VIA Milano powered by to promote the destination for self-hubbing passengers. The initiative includes “stopover tours”, short tours for self-connecting passengers, and “stopover promotion”, ad hoc promotion campaigns about Milan and Lombardy Region through

Milan to host World Routes 2021 and the 2026 Winter Games

Please keep everything IN your carry-on! Making going through security far less of a carry on.

How has Milan Bergamo Airport been investing for the future?

Milan Bergamo is undergoing an extensive multi-year investment programme that exceeds €400 million. Its aim is to create more room for passengers, airlines, and cargo operators, thus accommodating future growth.

July and October 2020 saw the inauguration of respectively the new Extra Schengen departures and extra Schengen arrivals areas.

Large and visible works are now in progress for the new West extension, scheduled for the end of 2021; it will host at the upper floor new boarding gates for Schengen destinations, while the ground floor will have additional areas for Schengen arrivals and baggage carousels.

The investments also continue with the development of the northern part of Bergamo’s airfield; it will become the home of the airport’s area, with brand-new warehouses, new external roads fully separated from the passenger flows, an extended aircraft apron.

Milan to host World Routes 2021 and the 2026 Winter Games (6)

Milan Bergamo passed the 13 million passenger mark for the first time in 2019.  “Lucky 13 is a memorable moment for our airport,” said Giacomo Cattaneo, Director of Commercial Aviation, Milan Bergamo Airport (SACBO), far-right.

You are hosting World Routes 2021, which will run in early September 2021. What are you doing to prepare for this event?

The stakeholders are working together to prepare World Routes 2021. We have been among the first to experience the complexity at such a challenging time and will be the first post-pandemic to host a worldwide event, happy to meet again, ready to talk business with the industry leaders.

We are paying particular attention to the highest safety standards, the sustainability impact of the event, and the involvement of local stakeholders in the success of the event. We are also designing tourist experiences for the delegates to enjoy the destination in complete safety and serenity.

World Routes 2021 Milano will allow all guests to experience in first-person the new normal and will hopefully enjoy our traditional hospitality.

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With World Routes 2021 and the 2026 Winter Games, the next few years will allow Milan, Bergamo, and Lombardy to showcase their many and varied offerings.

Milan will also be hosting the 2026 Winter Games, the first time it has been held in Milan. What does this mean for your region?

It is an important opportunity to demonstrate after Expo 2015 the ability of the territory and the local stakeholder to host and manage an event of this importance and complexity.

It is also a great chance to invest in new infrastructures, leaving an important legacy for the country. The entire economy will receive a big boost from the Games: prestigious Italian universities have calculated they’ll have an impact worth between €4 and €5 billion, and they will generate over 30,000 jobs.

Finally, the Games will give us the opportunity to show to the world the mountains and natural beauties of Lombardy and will therefore give an important contribution to relaunch the tourism sector as well.



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