Politically and economically Italy is in a bad way. And socially, the one figure that says it all is 1.3. That’s the current birth rate, which shows that every day there are less Italians than yesterday. So, clearly very few people have sufficient confidence in the future to have children. Italy is simply committing suicide very slowly.
And you can see it and feel it.
I’m in Italy at the moment, researching a green tourism guide to beautiful Romagna for http://www.totemtourism.com and everywhere I feel the great depression (personal as well as economic). Nobody sees any opportunity but there are millions, particularly for green tourism.
What a shame. In many respects Italy is the cradle of European civilization and it is chock-full of lavish works of art and architecture, beautiful sights and wonderful food and wine. Everywhere I go, there are fabulous tourism opportunities second to none.
No wonder that it’s one of the world’s top tourist destinations, even now at number 7 in the world tourism table, bringing in some 46 million tourists a year.
Great. So tourism is doing its utmost to keep Italy on the economic path to success?
Just one little ‘but’ which says a great deal about the current state of the country. The World Travel and Tourism Council recently did an analysis of Italian tourism which shows that in Italy the numbers of tourists may be increasing but…
The direct contribution of tourists to the Italian economy is down by 1.6%
The total contribution of tourism to Italian GDP is forecast to be down by 2.2% in 2012.
Whereas in 2011 tourism provided 868,500 jobs, in 2012 it is only forecast to provide 830,000.
Whereas visitors exports generated some €30.5bn in 2011, in 2012 this too is scheduled to fall by nearly 1%.
Tourism investment reduced by 4%
And whereas Italy is number 7 in terms of tourism arrivals, it is no 95 in terms of contribution to GDP, 167 in terms of growth, and 173 in long term growth.
So the truth is that Italy is certainly getting lots of tourists but it is palpably failing to make anything like the most of this massive opportunity.
Put simply – if Italy marketed its tourism for profit rather than numbers it could possibly double its benefits, create nearly a million extra jobs and get another €50 billion a year into its coffers.
Moreover a concerted attempt to create sustainable, green tourism in Italy could do lots more things. Like any green tourism initiative it could enhance pride, target employment opportunities, foster small businesses and artisans.
What a difference that would make to the birth rate!
Have a nice weekend – here in Ravenna it is SUMMER at last!