Meloni: «Tourism is a strategic asset of our productive fabric»

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«It is a fundamental sector and is one of Italy’s driving forces. It represents 13% of national wealth. It is a strategic asset of our productive fabric – said Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in her videoconference speech on the second and final day of the International Tourism Forum in Baveno, on Lake Maggiore -. It has often been overlooked, we could say that sometimes it has even been snubbed. A very serious mistake on a strategic level and it is the reason why from the beginning we set to work to give tourism a new centrality.” Over 300 million are available for companies in the sector to strengthen the competitiveness of our tourism sector. We do this through the EIB thematic fund for tourism which allows us to finance the creation, renewal, modernization and improvement of accommodation facilities and infrastructures for tourism” underlines the Prime Minister. Funds made available to tourism SMEs to relaunch the offer of hotel and non-hotel facilities in terms of quality, to put them at the same level as those in other countries. Giorgia Meloni focused on some Achilles’ heels such as “the chronic lack of less qualified manpower, which is why the citizen’s income was abolished” together with the need that the sector has for high-level professional profiles. «I think it is essential to retrain and train human capital, increase skills to attract high professional profiles, train young people prepared for the challenges of tourism 4.0 and international competition, which is clearly becoming increasingly demanding». Here is the path that must be followed, that of increasingly inclusive and accessible, sustainable quality tourism “because sustainability and the environment are a competitive advantage and must proceed hand in hand with remuneration for businesses”. Without forgetting seaside tourism and the Bolkestein issue: «Seaside tourism represents an Italian excellence that we want to defend and protect from regulatory uncertainty, in a confrontation that is always constant and close with Brussels» underlines Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni .

Among the next key events is the choice of the city that will host Expo 2023: in addition to Rome, Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Busan (South Korea) are in the running. Voting takes place in Paris on Tuesday and Andrea Abodi, Minister for Sport and Youth, assures that the Government will be there and in recalling how the project presented for the Capital «has gathered the necessary consensus and competed at least to get to the ballot but the dynamics of that vote they are inscrutable.” The two-day meeting was closed by Minister Santanchè who announced a series of thematic events that will take place in each region «in order to delve deeper into the different regional specificities and peculiarities, true verticals on which the tourism industry is based, strengthening its enhancement in terms of tourist attractiveness with the aim of releasing all the currently latent and unexpressed potential of the various territories” while on the short-term rental front “before the end of the year we will regulate a very complex sector. It’s a bit of a wild west. On the one hand we must protect private property which is sacred to us, but on the other we must not allow unfair competition.”

The geopolitical framework

The hospitality industry looks to 2024 by looking at the geopolitical scenario because the winds of the German recession could eventually hit Italian tourism. Giancarlo Giorgetti, Minister of Economy, said it. «We talk about an integrated economy and if international trade inevitably slows down, the European economy slows down or stops, inevitably the strongest economy, which is the German one, slows down or stops, we too have a direct consequence – warns Giorgetti -. Just think of how many Germans come here to spend their holidays.” Already this year, the areas traditionally chosen by guests arriving from Berlin have seen a slight slowdown in the summer months as Germany entered the technical recession phase. «The problem of the European economy is that it is slowing down, we are starting to pay the price for everything that is resulting». Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, OECD director, talks about forecasts for 2024, speaking «of an uncertain future with growth projections revised downwards – says Kamal-Chaoui -. We will soon publish new estimates with a generalized slowdown and we don’t know what can happen.”

The interventions

Representatives of the sector’s associations took turns on stage over the two days. Among these Maria Carmela Colaiacovo, president of Confindustria Alberghi, recalls that «The Bank of Italy has already recorded that the spending of international travelers has already exceeded 2019 levels and also in terms of presences, the foreign component has reached pre-crisis levels and the trend remains positive for the coming months.” Massimo Caputi, president of Federterme, announces the launch of the Italcare platform with the launch of medical tourism for next year as signs of a deseasonalization that must be accelerated. «The spa sector is the only tourism segment that offers a fundamental element for the entire system: deseasonalisation. We therefore have all the numbers to close the gap with other countries.” As regards sports tourism, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of the Automobile Club of Italy, points out the economic weight that motor-related events have «equal to almost 870 million between two Formula 1 Grand Prix and the stage of the world rally championship » in addition to the more than 900 races organized during the season in over 25 four-wheel sports disciplines. Still sport for the comparison between the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France which next year will start from Florence to reach Rimini, Cesanatico and Turin, a tribute to the Bel Paese and as Giovanni Malagò, Coni president, says «There is a great hunger for Italy in the world, I confirm from my observatory what President Meloni said: everyone abroad wants to recognize the possibility of organizing large sporting events, but we must give infrastructural guarantees, and we have failed on this for decades.”

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