A little over one month ago, the Italian government launched a new web portal for tourism. The budget: 45 million Euros. The result: according to a passionate group of professionals, students, university professors, tourism and marketing experts, IT people and geeks -- dismal. As Robin Good reported last week:
"... not feeling satisfied and represented from a project that should be our country online business card - [they] have decided to spontaneously aggregate with the will to understand and discuss how such a tourism web portal should have been architected and designed."
Thus RItalia was born. The goal: to aggregate and share ideas that could potentially generate a viable alternative solution to the official portal, which is deemed inadequate by Italians and European writers, designers and technologists. These will be published in a strategy document after the face-to-face gathering. The forum: RItalia (R as in redo) set a BarCamp-style event on March 31 in Milano. A couple hundred people have already signed up to participate in the dialogue to bring new ideas to the table and result in new guidelines for a tourism web portal.
"...that is truly representative of our country and which fully leverages the communication, interaction, social and cost-saving opportunities offered to us by the intelligent use of new media technologies."
This morning, RItalia received a communication from IBM Italia pledging knowledge, experience, and an attitude open to dialogue and exchange. What they would like to get in return: the acknowledgment of the complexity of the tourism industry and the commitment to work together on the project. For the online conversation, IBM proposes to use only one signature "il team IBM Italia-ITS-Tiscover" to identify the company's comments.
It will be interesting to see how this project develops. I'm in favor of a positive offline outcome from a passionate group of professionals getting together online. Dialogue and action can show us the power of community... and why we blog.