Recently a venture involving Eataly and the city of Bologna announced the opening in 2015 of Fico Eataly World, the ‘Disneyland’ of food in Bologna, Italy. The theme park will have restaurants, grocery stores, food labs and an aquarium spread over 20 acres of unused warehouses.
I have always been a fan of the Eataly concept: gathering all things Italian under one roof with a unique lifestyle experience. So here is my take on why it makes sense for them to venture into the visitor attractions industry?
- Our industry keeps trying to provide an experience that is more ‘lifestyle’ by integrating further retail and food elements, and this is what Eataly already does very successfully in 26 shops around the world;
- The Eataly concept is about generating revenue from every sqm of a large area with multiple business lines, and this is what theme parks are all about;
- Eataly is about culture, food and retail, which are among the main tourist interests (especially for the growing Chinese tourist market); no wonder Bologna wants its Eataly theme park to attract more visitors;
- Compared to developing countries, Italy and other European countries have prime real estate available for redevelopment and not that many alternate uses (office, residential) so why not turn them into tourism assets?
I look forward to more details on this development as I have a feeling it will have a great impact on our industry… if they do the whole ‘food’ thing right!