Italian Alps: Migrants Build Igloos To Help Boost Local Economy

Jennifer Deutschmann - Author

Feb. 11 2018, Updated 1:49 p.m. ET

African migrants, who were assigned to live in the village of San Simone in the Italian Alps, are doing their part to help boost the local economy. Restaurant owner Davide Midali said a handful of the migrants volunteered to build six large igloos — which are expected to increase tourism in the struggling region. In addition to giving back to the community, the activity helped the migrants bond with long-time residents of the village.

Historically, the village of San Simone was a popular destination for tourists who enjoy skiing in the Italian Alps. However, due to financial strain, the village was unable to open the local ski lifts during the 2017 — 2018 season. The loss of tourism revenue only compounded the village’s financial woes.

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In an effort to stimulate the local economy, restaurant owner Davide Midali devised a plan to increase tourism in the Italian Alps village. The plan included the construction of six igloos, which would provide tourists with a unique form of lodging.

As Midali began the daunting process of building the igloos, he was approached by a handful of local migrants. The African natives were unsure how to build an igloo. However, they were willing to learn and volunteered to help Midali with his project.

Gambian citizen Omar Kanteh, who fled to Italy last year, said he enjoyed learning a new skill and having the opportunity to get to know some of his neighbors. Davide Midali said he and his friends also appreciated learning more about the migrants and their history.

As reported by The Columbian, the igloos have attracted a lot of attention and have drawn a number of tourists to the small village nestled in the Italian Alps.

For the equivalent of $123, couples can purchase a special vacation package — which includes dinner at Davide Midali’s restaurant, one night in an igloo, a hearty breakfast, and a sightseeing tour through the Valle Brembana mountains.

As reported by The Star, the Italian Alps igloos sleep three people each. In the month of January, the igloos were fully booked every weekend and remain a popular destination for schools and other groups who are interested in learning more about the unique structures.

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Tourism board president Cristian Palazzi said the igloos have definitely boosted the economy in the Italian Alps village. However, at this time, it is unclear whether the increase in revenue will be enough to save San Simone.


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