The City of Salerno was busy and active in the spring, summer and autumn, but in spite of its extensive infrastructure for tourists and an engaged local community, it usually became quiet over the colder winter months. The challenge was: “How could the city attract visitors to the city in the winter months?”
In 2006, the City of Salerno decided to implement start a winter cultural festival modeled on the success of the City of Torino. They called it ‘Luci d’Artista’, and invited local artists to design work using lights that would appear on the streets and that would complement the annual Christmas lights. Over the years the event has grown and changed and in addition to the cultural artwork, the Christmas lighting, much of it designed and installed by MK Illumination, has changed and expanded and now covers an extraordinary 27km of streets, parks, and piazzas across Salerno.
Year-on-year, Salerno has reported more visitors, move overnight stays and of course, increased revenues from restaurants, shops and services across the city. The previously quiet months have become a busy period where tour buses are regularly turned away when parking becomes scarce.
This is a great problem for a city to have, and it’s entirely thanks to the lighting, the cultural connection, the local integration, and, of course, good marketing.
- In 2017, some reports indicated that the city received an estimated 3 million visitors during ‘Luci d’Artista’
- The project owes some of its success to getting buy-in and support from local businesses
- The artwork and lights draw on local identity and cultural and build on that to tell a vibrant story of light: this means that fans include locals as well as visitors, and of course, unique lighting displays that are designed specifically for the space
- A phased approach means that every year, there is something new to enjoy: this means that costs are spread across many years, and visitors always have a reason to return