Lean times for Italy tourism industry

Written by editor

This year, and for the first time in history, there is no usual August exodus as of endless caravans of Italians hitting the roads for summer holiday.

This year, and for the first time in history, there is no usual August exodus as of endless caravans of Italians hitting the roads for summer holiday.

This year things are different and NOT MANY Italians are going on summer holiday.

Those who remain at home this summer will be over 49.1 percent of the population, compared to 41.9 percent in the summer of 2011, which means 6 out of 10 Italians are staying at home, delivering a minus of 18.9 percent and drop in business of over 22 percent.

Many Italian VIPs prefer staying in Italy this summer, instead of going to exotic places, and even Prime Minister Mario Monti is staying in Italy.

“Our statistical memory had never seen such a widespread and devastating decline in a sector that could, if properly supported, be the first to fly the country’s economic recovery,” said Bernabo Bocca, President of Federalberghi (the Italian hotel federation) in Rome, “The number of those who will not go on holiday for economic reasons this year is rising to 51.6 percent (compared to 42.8 percent in 2011) bringing as many as 3 out of 10 Italians declare their poverty for tourism.

“The signal at this point is unmistakable. And the crisis now is hitting the middle class in Italy, which alway has been the backbone of the consumer, and the situation forces us to ask the government and parliament of the state for a help force.”

Mr. Bocca also hopes that the shock proves a useful necessity in order to define the means and measures for ways out of this tourism misery and to instigate the restructuring of tax measurements, as well as increasing cash flow. By that, Mr. Bocca is referring to a new law issued by the Italian government that hotels are not allowed to accept cash payments of more than 1,000 euro. The new law is not only keeping the Russians away, but also a clientele of big spendors.

Together with the Enit-Tourism Agency, Mr. Bocca is looking into a review of laws such as these that have introduced a tax permit or restriction of the use of cash, and may be the first items on the agenda in September.

Mr. Bocca added, “We hope it will be taken into serious consideration to the reopening of Parliament, if we do not want to run the risk of failure and closure of hundreds of companies and the consequent dismissal of thousands of workers.”

The days when we had to turn away guests in August like in 2007 will never return, sadly commented hotelier, Mr. Gianfranco Bucher, Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Lake Como.

But it’s not only hotels that are having a tough time, the Italian marinas are losing 20 percent of their core business for anchoring places by luxury yacht owners who left Italy in a great hurry in order to avoid massive taxes. They now prefer to anchor their boats in Malta, Croatia, France, or even Tunisia.

Travelers should also be alert to that fact that this Monday and Tuesday, August 6 and 7, will be the hottest days of summer: Rome will top 39 C degrees (102.2 F), it will be 40 C (104F) in Sardinia, Puglia, and in Sicily it will be 43 C (109.4).

Hot times and hot air is everywhere, and in the coming days, Italy is facing the hottest days of this summer with Saharan temperatures with the arrival of “Nerone,” the fifth cyclone this year, bringing temperatures of 37 C (98.6 F) to Bologna, Florence, Rome, Pescara, Perugia, Naples, and Bari, as well as 40 C (104 F) in the inland areas of Puglia, Basilicata, Sicily, and Sardinia.

The arrival of the “Breton” on Wednesday will replace ventilation with “softer and milder” hot winds from the Sahara, especially the center-south by Thursday evening, where there will be a drop in temperatures of 12-13 degrees, to the point of setting records, and should reach a maximum of 42-43 C (107.6-109.4 F) in Matera, the Italian weather forecast reported.

But with air conditioning, the heat is no longer a problem, and Italy remains one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

About the author


Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.