Breathing new life in Italy’s tourism

ITALY (eTN) - The long-awaited reform of ENIT (the Italian Tourist Board) has finally obtained consent by the Italian Court of Auditors and judiciary accounting after months of grueling waiting, delay

Breathing new life in Italy’s tourism

ITALY (eTN) – The long-awaited reform of ENIT (the Italian Tourist Board) has finally obtained consent by the Italian Court of Auditors and judiciary accounting after months of grueling waiting, delays, and failures. This opens the way to the transformation of the agency body and new life for the promotion of Italian tourism.

The text of the reform was drawn up at the end of 2014. After months of unexplained “parking” at Palazzo Chigi (the operational office of the Italian government), the consent by PM Renzi arrived in March, but the story is convoluted – the Court of Auditors blocked the reform for another two months, raising reliefs on the appointments of the sub-members of the board and analysis of the accounts of the ENIT agency.

The key elements of the new statute regarding the change of ENIT from a legal body under public law into a public economic entity, is under the supervision of the Minister and is occurring under the simultaneous liquidation of Mibact Promote Italy SpA.

In turn, this affects the functions and features of the new body, along with the composition and mode of appointment of members. With regard to the functions of the new ENIT, it has been reaffirmed that the mission is, of course, for national tourism promotion, and it was specified that interventions are aimed at identifying, organizing, and marketing of tourism cultural services and the typical food and wine products in Italy and abroad.

The aims include the promotion of investments in digital media, the technology platform, and in the Internet, in order to produce and distribute a Tourist Charter that allows, through instruments and digital channels and appropriate agreements with the public and private sector, to make payments at a reduced price for the integrated use of public transport services, institutes, and places of culture.

ENIT retains statutory regulatory, organizational, capital, accounting, and management autonomy. Its activity is governed by the rules of private law and may enter into agreements with the regions and autonomous provinces, local authorities. and other public bodies.

The tasks of the institution

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The new statute also defines the tasks of the institution and provides, among other things, the creation of a federal council representative of the regional agencies for tourism and, in the absence of the latter, the administrative offices responsible for tourism within the region, with no new or increased burden on public finances. The members of the new council are not entitled to any compensation, remuneration, allowances, and reimbursement of expenses. The statute establishes also that the Board of Directors is composed not only of the president of ENIT, but also by two members appointed by the Minister of National Heritage and Cultural Activities and Tourism, one of which is appointed by the Permanent Conference for relations between the state, the regions, and the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano, and the other after hearing the most representative organizations, in compliance with the rules on non-eligibility and incompatibility of positions in the public administration.

The statute also provides for the regulation of the functions and powers of the bodies and their duration, as well as the National Observatory of Tourism.

Planning to develop Italia.it

In the statutory text, finally, it is determined that the minister and the president of ENIT, Mibact, after consultation with the State-Regions Conference, is to sign an agreement every three years, which may be adjusted annually for each financial year, and defines priorities and operational guidelines. It is also agreed that these guidelines should also provide for the organization of the promotion and marketing of tourism through the enhancement and development of the portal Italia.it.

The “new” organization that maintains the social security framework of origin, is to apply the legal and economic conditions, including the accessory planned in collective agreements in force.

A significant part of the reform establishes how all related operations processing of ENIT as a public economic entity and the liquidation of the company “Promote Spa Italy” are excluded from all duties and rights, and are carried out under the tax neutrality, except for the value-added tax. The proposed provision also will allow the presumed cost savings resulting from the reorganization of personnel and foreign offices of the institution. The foreign offices of ENIT cost about €9 million per year; of these, 5 million euro concern local staff in foreign sites. An explicit endorsement of the merger ENIT-ICE is strongly supported by Premier Renzi.

A final key step in the reform statute reads: “Because ENIT will become a public economic entity, for the services it provided against payment there will be a gradual reduction of the state subsidy” (equivalent today to about 18 million euro). This means that the new agency will have to find resources elsewhere, perhaps going to knock on the doors of the regions for money.

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