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    Distanced but united, the club Friends of Maristanis gears up for the after-quarantine phase.

    “There has been a flood of cancellations. A French client, who usually comes in June, wrote to me yesterday on whatsapp, mortified for not being able to confirm. It's not easy, this is our only source of income", says Rosalba of the Torremana B&B to the other hoteliers who participate online at the meeting of the "Club Friends of Maristanis”, the vanguard of the professionals who in the eleven municipalities involved in the project decided to gather around the idea of sustainable tourism. "The private face of Maristanis", as its coordinator Luca Santarossa, an environmental economist, has defined it, currently counts eleven accommodations, all characterized by good practices in saving electricity and water resources. They will soon be joined by fishermen's cooperatives, artisans, rental activities and tourist-guide associations.

    “But - continues Rosalba- for August the regulars have not yet canceled, and we are receiving some bookings. We are developing the reboot. We began to measure up our B&B, control the procedures for the new online check-in and the automated keys for the rooms. All the necessary precautions to avoid contact. We base everything on hospitality. It will be difficult at the beginning, but it is the only way".

    The shower of frightening information that we receive daily in the confinement of our homes ends up creating a perception of events based on stasis. But just beyond the blanket of fear and uncertainty people operate, projects continue, answers begins to be articulated. Roberta of the Mistral hotel in Oristano explains: "The first Covid infected in Oristano was one of our customers. Luckily we didn't have any particular problems afterwards. We had to close Mistral II, though. Initially the Mistral I hotel remained open to accommodate four people who would not have known where to go. Now we have only one client, we have had to adapt and cut the staff. Masks and visors are available for everyone, and on the reception desk we have placed a plexiglas screen. We continuously sanitize and we are also testing automatic systems to limit manual labor and optimize the results. Until February it had been the best start of the season in recent years. Lots of cancellations followed. The historical customers resist. We read of Confindustria and Federalberghi (the category associations) emails that keep us updated on the safety procedures to be implemented. The situation is very difficult, but we have to react”.

    To those present Maria Pala, environmental expert of the MEDSEA foundation, shows on the screen the space dedicated to the club on the Maristanis project website, the application form to be completed, the QR code through which to get access to the information about the Ramsar areas, the spots that describe all the different structures and the link to their particular websites. In short, the beginning of a network capable of creating itineraries and attracting tourists sensitive to the environmental richness of the Oristano gulf and to the importance of its protection. In the online chat health issues, the opening of ports and airports, the good and bad of politics are discussed. Caution and responsibility prevail: “I had to return all the deposits. It will be difficult to keep social distancing. Not only in the B&B, we offer magnificent sailing trips in the Gulf of Oristano. Boats stay quietly in the pier at the moment. We are waiting for news, and a vaccine”, says Alberto of the B&B Camera con vista of Oristano.

    “How many will be willing to use masks, how many will have holidays after being forced to take them to cover the quarantine? How many will have the resources to take a vacation?" Jimmy Anedda of the Arborea Horse Country wonders. “Many cancellations for us too. The hard core of our customers is foreigners, we are experiencing the downward curve of the pandemic, but what about the other countries? Usually we open the season in early March, now we hope we can do it in mid-June. But we have a lot enthusiasm and energy to spend on the restart. We plan to invest in local and Italian tourism, to organize many thematic weekends. While we take care of all the aspects related to safety, we respond to our customers, we inform them, we try to calm them down”.

    Friends of Maristanis will meet again in two weeks. The club’s Principles Chart will be presented along with the new Facebook group and new ideas for the re-starting, as happened in this first meeting, will be discussed and shared.

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