Return tourism today represents a real lever that allows, through the promotion of traditions, local excellence and villages – that are the places of historical Italian emigration - to intercept those compatriots abroad, interested in finding their own roots and rediscovering the places of origin. There are about 80 million Italian compatriots and Italian-descendants residing abroad. The main markets are made up of Brazil, Argentina and USA in which 75% of them live (Maeci, 2022). Italians abroad generate actually an important share of tourist flows which, unlike mass seasonal tourism or post-covid proximity tourism, is distributed homogeneously throughout the Italian territory and throughout the year. Within this framework, the initiative of the Italian Ministries of Culture (Mic) and of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (Maeci) is placed, which declared 2023 as year of "Return Tourism". The project falls within the investment for the "Attractiveness of Villages" under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and proposes various tourist offers aimed at Italian-descendants in the world. In this perspective, the paper analyzes the strategies and actions launched in this direction, examining the case of the “Borghi Autentici d’Italia” network. Through the recognition of the experiences put in place by the network, the contribute aims to identify role that these initiatives can have in enhancing tourist offer and in relation to the possibility of attracting investments in the countries of origin, also in order to reverse, or at least, stem the emptying and depopulation process of Italian small villages.
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