Tourism: an industry without government (2004)

The Eurispes Report on the Tourism Industry in Italy shows that, from 2000 to 2003, Italy lost about 3 million foreign visitors, with a negative balance of almost 4 billion euro per year. The balance for 2004 seems to be even heavier, as foreign visitors to our country fell by 10%, another 4 million fewer than in 2003.

Italian tourism is going through one of the deepest crises of the last few years: the crisis in the sector has affected all the regions of our country, with marked drops of 15-20% for German, Austrian and Swiss tourism in Liguria, 30% for German tourism in Campania, while the lakes of Northern Italy have recorded 15% drops and Emilia Romagna and Marche 10%. In Italy, everything seems to be more complicated than elsewhere, not only because we are the world’s leading country in terms of the size, variety and completeness of the tourist offer, understood as a mix of goods and services, but also because of the innate tendency of our public apparatus for governing the territory to bureaucratise and complicate problems, in a maze of laws, decrees and regulations, which inevitably lead to overlapping, fragmentation and the crossing of competences between a myriad of bodies at different levels.

The result of this incomprehensible way of proceeding, especially in the view of more advanced countries with more consolidated and long-established state structures, is that today we find ourselves faced not with an “Italian system” in the field of tourism but with a series of 20 regional subsystems structured in a way that is often totally different from region to region, with as many marketing strategies that inevitably lead to competition between them on international markets.

Therefore, what is lacking is an actual policy for governing complexity and promoting the ‘Italian product’ abroad. Just think of the limited means and resources with which Enit should promote the image of our country or the tax burden that makes our offer less competitive. At the same time, the resources for managing our immense cultural and environmental heritage, which is a natural attraction for foreign visitors, tend to become increasingly scarce.


Chapter 1. Trends in international tourism in the light of the global economic situation
The general framework
Trends in international and regional tourism
The top ten

Chapter 2. The Italian situation
Tourism trends in 2003 and in the first few months of 2004
Foreign tourists in Italy
Italian tourists abroad
Italy’s position in the European context

Chapter 3. Investments for the Promotion of Tourism
Tourism Expenditure in the Italian Regions
Financing Promotional Policies
The Business of Tourism in Mediterranean Countries

Chapter 4. Forecasts and Prospects
Analysis and estimates of the tourism performance of Italy and its main competitors for 2005
Forecasts of international tourist flow in 2005
Business incentives policy
The strengths and weaknesses of the Italian tourist offer
The economic potential of the cultural offer
Rural tourism

Summary Document

Italian tourism is going through one of the deepest crises in recent years. What the sector lacks is a real policy to manage the complexity and promote the Italian tourism product abroad

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