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Open Forum called: Italy’s vulnerable economy and tourism

Mario Masciullo, eTN Italy Correspondent  Jul 26, 2016

ROME, Italy (eTN) - The instability of the economy and the recurrent risks experienced by tourists, such as being stranded before even departing an airport, or not being able to find the services paid for on arrival at the chosen destination, have stimulated the daily journal, L'Agenzia di Viaggi, to call for an Open Forum (OF) discussion to look for a solution and to align the new Italian government legislation that has been in force since July 1, 2016.

The event held at the Hotel Cicerone Rome (Piazza di Spagna View circuit) succeeded in gathering around a single table the main travel trade associations (Fiavet, Astoi, Fto, Assoviaggi, and Aiav), along with "Aria Network Borghini and Cossa" and "Insurance 4 Travel" - those that to date have established private guaranteed funds and insurance solutions in compliance with the law in force from July 1, 2016.

Two main proposals emerged from the Open Forum. First, that a committee of associations, or maybe a super consortium, is needed to share a central efficient risk, financed by various funds, to manage tourist emergencies related to the insolvency or failure of tourism enterprises. Second, an action of lobbying to promote a political resolution needs to be submitted to the PM Renzi government to establish a non-partisan watchdog on funds, also composed of trade associations.

The political proposal of a resolution was brought forward by Ignazio Abrignani, politician and President of the Parliamentary Observatory on Tourism, who admitted the faults of politicians using this as a definition: "smart only in their word formulation, but too absent-minded and distant from the industry dynamics and problems." He added that "even the extreme fragmentation of the representation of tourist categories favored the short circuit that has, in fact, isolated such an important economic sector for the country system."

A technical solution has been advanced by Gaetano De Vito, a financial expert and Chairman of Assoholding. After highlighting the "economic vulnerability of the tourism sector," witnessing the presence of many cases, too many fund solutions and policies to address the requirement for an EU Directive, he requested and proposed to the associations' joint efforts to promote an inter-association committee capable of sharing the delicate transition from a central-risk operation, which would be available to all customers of organized tourism." An idea shared by Enrico Guarnerio, President of Strategic Group, together with his adviser, Emanuela Bonomi, pointed out that the difficulty of establishing a valid formula of private guaranteed funds resulting mainly from the high management costs of a central risk-efficient, is available 24 hours around the clock, to assist customers’ repatriation.

"Not to mention the premiums charged to the operators, because in all areas where they operate, the insurance companies are increasingly relying on actuaries or professionals who need to assess the sustainability of insurance coverage. In the case of organized tourism, that we "Strategica" have evaluated, the risks of dealing with inadequate instruments and certain operational emergencies are numberless and mostly uneconomical. I think the way of funds, undertaken by trade associations, is one of the few viable, but we should make it a common cause."

Therefore, beyond the good effort made by Aiav with the product "Salvagente," by Fiavet with the fund "Fogar," by Assoviaggi with "Garanzia Viaggi," by Fto Warranty with "Vacanze Felici," and by Astoi with its association "Fondo a tutela del Viaggiatori," it is time to serve up the courage needed to overcome the obstacles and share at least the middle-risk instrument, perhaps by undergoing the constant supervision of an impartial body suggested by a specific government measure.

This is only the beginning of the story being written, one hopefully that will have a "happy ending,” which is highly dependent on the associations involved and politics.

Open Forum called: Italy’s vulnerable economy and tourism

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