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Troubled Italian Jobs

Winter in Italy could put thousands of jobs at risk

Mario Masciullo, eTN Staff Writer  Sep 18, 2009

The Italian Tourism Federations are simultaneously addressing to the newly-formed Italian minister of tourism petitions for assistance, suggestions and plea to help the Italian tourism industry to improve its weak segments and to include the industry in the list of the beneficiary of the special funds (1.6 billion euros) granted by a group of Italian banks for the project ‚ÄúItalia&Turismo,‚ÄĚ which is supported by Mr. Berlusconi (approved in June 2009) to rescue the incoming sector: ‚Äúfrom the camping, agritourism, to the large hotel groups.‚ÄĚ

The latest letter landed on the desk of Italian Tourism Minister M.V. Brambilla, is from the Italian Federation of Travel Agents (FIAVET-Confturismo). Its president, Ms Cinzia Renzi, draws the balance of the tourist summer season and the forecast for the forthcoming 2009/2010-winter season.

‚ÄúWe are approaching a situation that will see 3000 Italian medium small travel agent companies close down and 8000 unemployment in the sector,‚ÄĚ stated Ms. Renzi.

However, the letter does not mention cases of some large tour operators bankruptcy and other on the way to it.

Such dramatic forecast is supported by figures, which are down 15 percent both in the incoming, and outgoing and 25 percent own in term of profit from the beginning of 2009.

The difficulty of access to bank credit, to adverse attitude of air carriers, first of all Alitalia in the deep red, the hopeless running of airport services, the endured frauds made by illegal travel agents are some of the main problems that place at risk the credibility and survival of the Italian travel agents society.

The urgent solutions to be implemented by the government, according to Ms. Renzi, are to include the travel agents and tour operators category to benefit of the easy terms of credit granted by ‚ÄúItalia&Turismo‚ÄĚ condition, a careful review of rules and conditions of the Italian law on travel and transport, a direct involvement of travel agents in the new web portal www.Italia,it, the review of the warranty funds for a better efficiency in emergency times are amongst the proposals.

The protest to the government proceed in formation by the founders of the entire Italian tourism industry which include Assoviaggi, (Association of travel Agents), FederturismConfindustria/Ciset, Federviaggi Confturismo, Federviaggio, Federalberghi Confturismo, Federconsumatori e ADUSBEF , Consumi Confcommercio (ICC). Their message: the travel industry is going to face a tourist winter season that will be strongly influenced by the after-effects of a weak summer season. In simple words, low business for all!

Statistics are in fact clear: the summer season closed with minus 5.1 percent in the hotel business for both foreign and Italian guest. Final statistics could prove much more. This aggravated by minus 5.1 workers at the expense of the service to the guest that has caused and shall continue to cause an imbalance of service- quality by the incoming industry stressed by a lower income.

The Italian Travel and Consumer Federations unanimously stated that the government has not yet recognized the tourist sector as one of the main industries for revenue contribution and growth of employment. It is now time, urged the Federturismo Confindustria (Federation of Tourism and Industry) that whoever concerned takes due measures to face the galloping emergency implementing strategies to face the crisis.

Ms. Brambilla seems open to meet the proposal of the president of Federcongressi (in reply to the letter written by its president Mr. Bernab√≤ Bocca) to help the congress sector grow through the opening to benefit of the granting of ‚ÄúItalia&Turismo‚ÄĚ funds and extend same privilege to the industry sector along the line.

The promise made by Ms. Brambilla binds her to look into increasing the credit granted by the group of banks since, 1.6 billion euros or what is left of it after the initial grants to the incoming companies since the month of June 09 can only scratch the surface of the applications for funds that the new beneficiaries of the tourism categories shall submit.

To the ‚ÄúReview of rules and conditions of the Italian Law on Tourism‚ÄĚ as proposed by FIAVET, should be added ‚ÄúCoordination and control of public money expenditure.‚ÄĚ

Many initiatives regarding the promotion of Italy are included in the yearly calendar of events without the least monitoring of the level of return. Not mentioning the many million euros (over 90) spent for the very recent web portal and its previous disastrous editions.

Winter in Italy could put thousands of jobs at risk
Photo by Mario Masciullo

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