No “expression of interest” for the Oropa cable cars, says councilor Greggio

The expression of interest, published by the municipality of Biella from 30 August to 30 November, and aimed at looking for partners to redevelop the Conca di Oropa and get the cableways back up and running, was unsuccessful. On the topic, interviewed the Councilor for Tourism Barbara Greggio.

Councilor, how do you comment on the negative outcome of the expression of interest?

This manifestation of European interest provided for a project financing where public and private had to collaborate for the development of the Conca. The absence of answers means that the market prefers to separate management from tourism promotion and development. This can be a reason such as the increase in the cost of raw materials. We are now contacting these companies to understand the reasons for not participating. We will work on these critical issues and act on the technical part relating to the assignment of works. This market has needs that we need to know and plan so that the cable car can reopen as soon as possible. The Municipality of Biella has allocated 5 million euros so that the contractor could open a credit to start the works. In the future we will also have another 2 million from the Piedmont Region with which we have signed a program agreement, and 600 thousand euros from the Province of Biella. We are sorry that only these three entities participate because the cable cars are everyone’s heritage, which must be financed by public and private entities.

Why did you also include the Conca di Oropa in the project?

Because in the Conca we have one of the most important tourist segments which is linked to spirituality. The only Erita and Unesco site of humanity with the 12 chapels of the Sacro Monte, recognized as world heritage, and one of the 58 Italian sites for which Italian culture is famous throughout the world. We also have the nature reserve, recognized as a regional heritage and site of community interest for biodiversity, which is a priority element of the 2030 agenda for the protection of Green Deal policies. And then the Conca is linked to other tourist segments such as Rosazza, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy 2022, to which Biella has sent a letter of support. All of the Biella area must be valued and must be able to guarantee a broad offer in terms of spirituality, outdoors, food and wine and mountaineering.

Was this choice made due to the link between the cable car and Conca?

Yes, because the Conca can be reached by car and, via our historic two-bay cable car, it connects to the Great Crossing of the Alps. An international itinerary of 55 stages, which all tourists from Northern Europe travel along to reach the French Maritime Alps: thanks to this tourism all the refuges live. La Conca is also at the center of the Grande Traversata Biellese. Furthermore, 2022 is the international year of paths, of slow: among the paths that are growing there is the Cammino di Oropa, an ancillary route of the Via Francigena, which reaches the most important Marian Sanctuary in the Alps.

Are Funivie and Conca therefore functional to the development of tourism towards the Biella area?

Yes, because they are objective elements that the whole world recognizes us. This summer we recorded +37% of arrivals + 29% of presences on the outdoors, with 20,000 more overnight stays than in 2019. This figure tells us that Biella tourism is growing and needs to be developed.

No “expression of interest” for the Oropa cable cars, says councilor Greggio