Ma­la­cri­da: “The po­ten­tial is the­re but it mu­st be re­gu­la­ted”

seeITALY - - Scenari - Lau­ra Do­mi­ni­ci

Sel­ling our­sel­ves well abroad and being quick about vi­sas and di­rect air links - the li­ne to adopt ac­cor­ding to the pa­tron of Res Ho­spi­ta­li­ty Bu­si­ness De­ve­lo­pers

The di­rect con­tri­bu­tion of tou­ri­sm to na­tio­nal GDP was 66 bil­lion eu­ros in 2014 ( 4.1% of to­tal GDP) and the esti­ma­te is for 1.8% gro­w­th in 2015, rea­ching + 2.1% in the next de­ca­de, ta­king fo­re­casts to 82.4% bil­lion, whi­ch will ac­count for 4.6% of the GDP in 2025. Jobs in the sec­tor are ex­pec­ted to grow as well by over 2% and, mo­re im­por­tan­tly, in a ran­kings li­st of 184 coun­tries world­wi­de, Ita­ly is in se­ven­th po­si­tion for the im­por­tan­ce of the con­tri­bu­tion by tou­ri­sm to the na­tio­nal GDP: We are re­min­ded of the­se fi­gu­res, re­cen­tly ela­bo­ra­ted by the WTTC ( World Tra­vel & Tou­ri­sm Coun­cil), by Marco Ma­la­cri­da, ow­ner of Res Ho­spi­ta­li­ty Bu­si­ness De­ve­lo­pers, to hi­ghlight the ro­le of tou­ri­sm in the eco­no­my. “The trend is fa­vou­ra­ble be­cau­se de­mand is po­si­ti­ve. We are in fir­st pla­ce on the world’s wi­sh li­st”, he starts by say­ing. An idyl­lic pic­tu­re we­re it not for a se­ries of ob­sta­cles. He has clear ideas on what needs to be do­ne: “We need to be ra­pid and fo­cus on a two- pron­ged cour­se of ac­tion: ho­ning the vi­sa is­suing sy­stem and pro­mo­ting di­rect links bet­ween Ita­ly and the new emerging mar­ke­ts”. One exam­ple is the Chi­ne­se Cheng­du area wi­th its 14 mil­lion in­ha­bi­tan­ts. “SEA”, he an­noun­ces, “is ne­go­tia­ting li­cen­ces for a di­rect link wi­th Mi­lan. Ope­ning new cor­ri­dors to­wards In­dia and Sou­th Ea­st Asia is fun­da­men­tal”. On the issue of vi­sas, al­thou­gh steps ha­ve been ta­ken, the­re is still a lot to be do­ne to pre­vent too ma­ny bar­riers to en­try: “In 2015, Fran­ce is­sued 1.8 mil­lion for Chi­ne­se vi­si­tors again­st the half mil­lion is­sued by Ita­ly”.

Boo­kings

The gro­wing vo­lu­me of boo­kings in Ita­ly is happening on two le­vels, ho­tel and no­n­ho­tel, “but bo­th mu­st be re­gu­la­ted”, upholds Ma­la­cri­da. The client will use bo­th al­ter­na­ti­ve­ly and the­re­fo­re they will con­ti­nue to co- exi­st, but they mu­st be gi­ven the ro­le of wi­th­hol­ding agen­ts”. This for two rea­sons: to gua­ran­tee sa­fe­ty and for eco­no­mic and tax rea­sons. And whi­le Airbnb for exam­ple is al­rea­dy a wi­th­hol­ding agent in New York, he­re in Ita­ly the que­stion is mo­re com­pli­ca­ted, “be­cau­se we

ha­ve bad short- term po­li­tics that are vo­tes- ba­sed. Ma­ny are pro­spe­ring in under- the- ta­ble il­le­gal eco­no­mics”, he ex­plains, wi­thout min­cing his words. Re­gar­ding the ho­spi­ta­li­ty trend, the ma­na­ger em­pha­si­ses the mo­st re­cent trend that sees a de­ci­si­ve im­pro­ve­ment in boo­kings in se­con­da­ry ci­ties su­ch as Turin, Me­stre, Bo­lo­gna, Ma­te­ra, Fer­ra­ra and Man­tua, “whi­ch ha­ve ma­na­ged to at­tract at­ten­tion thanks to the or­ga­ni­sa­tion of long- term even­ts lin­ked to art and cul­tu­re”.

A dri­ver for gro­w­th that mu­st be le­ve­ra­ged in the fu­tu­re too. Two other aspec­ts that en­cou­ra­ge tou­ri­st pre­sen­ces in Ita­ly are, on the one hand, the en­han­ce­ment of the dol­lar and on the other the drop in de­mand for coun­tries close to Ita­ly su­ch as Tu­ni­sia, Egypt and Tur­key.

Po­ten­tial

“The­re is great po­ten­tial”, con­ti­nues Ma­la­cri­da, “but we need to learn how to sell our­sel­ves bet­ter abroad. Spain and the Ca­na­ries in par­ti­cu­lar ha­ve rea­li­sed how to be­st ex­ploit the si­tua­tion. Let’s in­vi­te fo­rei­gn ope­ra­tors and jour­na­lists to try out our mar­ket”, he sug­gests, “let’s crea­te ni­che char­ters ( brin­ging to­ge­ther gol­fing as­so­cia­tions, traf­fic we then di­rect to­wards the golf cour­ses in Lom­bar­dy or Si­ci­ly)”. Af­ter all, the in­he­ri­tan­ce left by Ex­po mu­st be pre­ser­ved wi­th the plan­ning of even­ts and pro­mo­tion of con­fe­ren­ces wi­th long- term ini­tia­ti­ves. En­han­cing the strong poin­ts al­so means “crea­ting de­sti­na­tion GDP”, fo­cu­sing on sy­ner­gies that can com­bi­ne a vi­sit to an ex­hi­bi­tion or con­cert wi­th shop­ping and other re­crea­tio­nal ac­ti­vi­ties. So­cial chan­nels can play their part, but so far the­re “has not been any crea­tion of ad­ded va­lue. We should stop being self- re­fe­ren­tial and use sto­ry- tel­ling in a dif­fe­rent way, crea­ting har­mo­nious sy­ner­gy fo­cu­sed on sa­les”.

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