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Recovering the deep loss of tourism in Italy

Mario Masciullo, eTN Italy Correspondent  Jul 26, 2016

ITALY (eTN) - Mrs. Evelina Cristillin, President of ENIT, the Italian Government Tourist Board, and her advisers, Mr. M.Lazzerini and Mr.A. Preiti, presented in Rome a 3-year plan with guidelines that foresee: "consolidation of selected markets (Europe and North America), a differentiated and very generational marketing oriented company, and a close partnership with the Italian diplomatic-consular network and the Italian regions."

"We worked hard to devise a plan for revitalizing the Italian brand with the tools and the most appropriate action, leaving aside all rumors and gossip (that always flourish on ENIT activities),” said Mrs. Cristillin in her opening presentation. Some would want us (ENIT) to close down, but we will go on our way.”

On the hypothetical “closing,” there was the prompt reassurance of Ms. Dorina Bianchi, Undersecretary of Mibact, the Ministry of the Italian Cultural Wealth and Activities with responsibility for Tourism that stated: "The wishful thinking of others do not meet our intention. Proof of this is the allocation of about 84 million euro spread over 3 years that will help jump-start ENIT on the right track.

On steps to be taken, the strengthening of the most advanced markets in Europe and North America emerges, which alone accounts for over 80% of incoming tourists to Italy. A differentiated and generational marketing will be adopted taking advantage of the diplomatic-consular network to guard some basins, especially emerging ones such as India, Korea, China, the UAE, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, where the presence of ENIT offices will be strengthened.

The marketing strategy foresees the need to concentrate on tourist spending (now amounting to € 35.7 billion) rather than on arrival numbers. The Italian tourist receipt is below that which is generated by Spain and France. With this in mind, ENIT intends to focus on product lines, capable of generating a strong industry, specifically, culture, gastronomy, nature, wellness, congress, sports and big events. This are the offering types that can contribute to spreading tourism wealth over 12 months. The cluster on which ENIT intends to work over its 3-year plan ranges from villages and intangible assets to the minor museum centers, as well as from religious paths to gastronomic itineraries.

Besides the traditional promotional strategies, ENIT intends to strengthen its presence on social networks, and revive a great project of a global hub shared with the Chamber of Commerce of Milan, which will leverage on the long successful wave of Expo 2015 for the placement of Italian destinations in the world of tourism. The project aims, through the involvement of the stakeholders of the digital world and travel, to confirm the image of Milan-Italy as an international center of tourism in innovative solutions. The initiative, based in the Milan area, aims to engage and support the development of the entire country system.

The first concrete step will be the launch in the coming months of an "international call" for start-ups and innovative companies with the aim of selecting new solutions, and target applications for digital and tourism products. The re-styling of the ENIT logo is also foreseen to be done through a social competition in September. To stay in line with the digitization subject, which is an integral part of the 3-year plan, Roberta Milan has been appointed as a digital manager to better coordinate all the innovative actions concerning the promotion of the Italian brand. While on ITALIA.IT (the much discussed useless ENIT portal that costed millions), it was decided that it is outdated and that an adequate investment is required for a modern portal.

The budget assigned to ENIT also contains a revolutionary breakdown compared with the past: of the 28 million in 2016, the same amount in 2017 and 27 million in 2018, 40% of the 28 million assigned for the years 2016 and 2017, will be deployed to cover ENIT’s costs, while 6 % will go to promotional actions. Exactly the opposite than what occurred in the past.

A closing point suggested that "the real challenge of ENIT and Italian tourism gears on 3 words: the measure, i.e., the real-time monitoring of data and trends; the strategic use of digital intelligence to communicate; and the Italian brand, of which it is necessary to exploit the potential."

The closing presentation of the plan included the signing of 2 important Memoranda of Understanding with the mayors of 2 of the most beautiful villages in Italy ( and the Italian Heritage Sites City Association and UNESCO.

Recovering the deep loss of tourism in Italy
L-R: Mr. F.M. Lazzerini, ENIT; Ms. E. Cristillin; Ms. Dorina Bianchi; Mr. A.N. Preiti

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