ITALY (eTN) – The economy drive implemented by the Italian government has imposed a budget cut on the ENIT agency. The 2011 budget of public funding amounts to about €24 million. In order to manage the essential expenditures and costs, ENIT will ask tour operators, who need to promote their services abroad, to pay.
The set charges in the service charter, tied to the new model of Italy Club, now provides operators with three levels of membership: Standard for small business, and medium-sized Gold and Platinum for the larger operators, respectively. Membership fees per year range from €400 to €1,000 to €5,000, with varying degrees of access to services and initiatives of the club and increasing discounts on the cost of services.
While in Rome, ENIT President Matteo Marzotto said, “The strategy that we need to implement is to become [an] agency with [an] economic profile, in the sense that will tie all of our activities to the development of the marketing consulting business for the Italian garrison of foreign markets. The services traditionally provided by the agency are transformed and renewed to align with market needs, focusing on quality, but we will cover the costs to compensate for the small size of our budget.”
Among the paid services that ENIT offers with the new regulations for club members is the access to Italy’s Virtual Travel Market – the new virtual travel exhibition that takes place on the Internet in March and October, where B2B is put on the network “from a trading platform that organizes meetings and fairs as natural.”
To participate at the Virtual Travel Market, an Italian operators pays for a “control panel” on which it load its database, which will appear in all online trading undertaken. The control panel will provide the operator with information on buyers, operational tools such as instant messaging, sending text messages in real time, and participation in a community-oriented product.
The tour operator also will pay to take part in 12 seminars that will be held by ENIT in 2011. These seminars will mainly be oriented to the types of deals made in Italy. They are offered at €260 to €360 per seminar, according to the areas of market research that ENIT undertakes, which will be upon request as well as customized by each individual operator.
Other options include legal assistance in case of disputes with foreign traders, a photo library (from €10 to €50 per image in high definition), and the use of ENIT’s corporate office for events at €700 to €1,500 euro per day.
New to the program will be an annual Club Italy Day and the establishment of the Italian Club Tourism Award, which will be given to those who are distinguished in their promotional activities.
Also new to the program is the seasonally-adjusted software, currently availabe for free download, which, as explained by Paul Rubin, Director-General of ENIT, “Will be a tool for strategic planning and marketing support of the regions.” This service supplies real-time information on the habits of the largest pools of foreign tourist consumption, per month, with the real potentiality of the Italian offer, in order to direct demand towards the areas easily accessible by rail and air connections, and useful for a given period.