Sicily looks to burnish its image to attract tourists

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2002

ROME (AP) -- Sicily's government, determined to quash the image of the island as a Mafia backwater with scant tourist appeal, is launching a major campaign next month to persuade travelers worldwide to come visit.

The island's government has hired international advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi to change the sunny island's image around the world, with a campaign based around the slogan: ''Sicily leaves everything else in the shade.''

The campaign will be ''pretty modern and amusing, and will promote the idea that Sicily has evolved and grown and is no longer the Sicily of the years immediately following the Second World War,'' says Francesco Taddeucci, a director at Saatchi and Saatchi in Rome.

The campaign aims to profit from a new Sicilian tourism plan to improve transportation, set up tourist ports along the coast, and launch an Internet site for visitors.

''We intend to give a new and different image to Sicily: a region that grows, works and produces,'' said Sicilian tourism official Francesco Cascio, according to the ANSA news agency.

The advertising campaign will cost $13 million, while the regional government is devoting about $500 million to the infrastructure improvements, ANSA said.

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