Italy’s government and travelers looking for cheaper holidays abroad


ITALY (eTN) – “While recording a 1.3 percent decrease in June to overnight stays over the same period of 2009, the first half of 2010 marks an index of zero growth, confirming the status of a crisis in the hotel industry,” stated the president of Federalberghi, Bernabo Bocca, following the monthly monitoring conducted by the Federation.

“The situation of stagnation is, however, the more significant and critical points [along with] turnover rates and [the] labor force component,” added Mr. Bocca.

“From the official ISTAT (National Institute of Statistics) data, it follows that the hotel rates from January to May declined nationally by 1 percent (compared with an inflation rate of 1.3 percent), and employment from January to June suffered a total loss of 3 percent.

“The result,” said the President, “Leads us to withdraw, despite a context of more competitive pricing of the offer, a decline around at least 5-7 percent of the hotel income, which encouraged the hotel keepers to get rid of temporary staff (2 percent from January to June) and -3.7 percent long-term contract staff from January to June for an indefinite period to reduce the ever increasing operating costs.

“It is time that the government, implements favorable economic policy measures (so far only announced) to the industry in order to stop the drain of workers and simultaneously initiate a phase of real recovery.

“The industry is in danger. There are no signs of a[n] imminent crisis, but the patient show[s] no sign of healing,” warned Bocca. The warning was directed to the Senate at a hearing of the Committee of Industry, Commerce, and Confturismo on the state of the sector. Bocca has drawn attention to hotel operating difficulties, giving suggestions on a way out of the crisis. He touched on the most stagnant situations – the commissioner of ENIT (Italian Tourism body), the disputes on the state lands at a time when one tourist presence has two concerns about seaside tourism, the need to change the powers of commons to allow hoteliers who want to leave the bond-use of their property, and most important, the unacceptability of the restoration of the tourist tax for the city of Rome alone and the dripping of airport taxes. His final appearl was for a more suitable fiscal policy for tourism.

Meanwile, the minister for Tourism, Ms. M.V.Brambilla, in presenting the commercial promotion spot on Italy dedicated to Italian tourists, said, “Italians have to holiday in their own country,” and she informed the audience that Italians spent abroad 14 billion Euro in 1999. “If it were possible to recover even a fraction of this amount, [it] would be an important factor for the country[‘s] system. To convince the Italians to remain in their own country is an obligation in the interest of the national economy.”