Restart the tourist season as soon as possible, distribute existing resources and spend the new ones well. And then harmony with the Regions for the promotion of the Italy brand already in view of the 2025 Jubilee and the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics. But above all, more generally, strengthen the production capacity of the tourism industry. The programmatic lines of the newly established department are aimed at a few but incisive objectives, illustrated today by the Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia in a video conference hearing to the joint production activities commissions of the Chamber and Senate.
A short, medium and long term program (in view of the Recovery Plan) with the full operation of the department ready to “give answers in this difficult period” assured Garavaglia. “The main objective is to restart the 2021 tourist season as soon as possible with internal and international flows” and in the meantime, “keep companies alive and strengthen the industry system of this sector which, before the pandemic, contributed to 13% of the Italian GDP “. “We have found important resources, even huge ones, and our goal is to distribute them as quickly as possible and in the most equitable way possible,” he said.
Notes of optimism transpire from his words because Garavaglia believes that the worst is over. “We believe that the difficult period is towards the end and after Easter things will improve. There are effective and functional security protocols – he added – that allow tourism in the middle of the pandemic”, as if that were not enough, he announced that he will soon meet Transport Ministers Enrico Giovannini and Health Roberto Speranza to “activate the protocol for safe mobility in the best possible way”. Then look at the vaccination plan as at the exit from the tunnel in late summer. “The government’s goal is to finish the vaccination plan by the end of the summer to look at the prospect of a normal winter.”
‘We agree with Regioni: digital revolution and unified promotion of the Italian brand’
While there are already signs of a recovery in tourism from abroad. Garavaglia mentioned in this regard the low cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet. “Today’s news is that Ryanair expects one million passengers in Italy. Compared to last year’s nothing, it means that we are starting again, and Easyjet + 250%. So we are starting to see something positive, but we have to work already for this year”.
But in addition to the already existing resources, Garavaglia said that there are “other resources on which we must start to put our heads: it is the European funds in the Pon and Por budget that are regional”. And it is precisely in the relationship with the Regions that the minister aims to “initiate a dialogue with a view to loyal collaboration and make the expenditure of these resources as effective as possible for the creation of GDP and jobs as quickly as possible”. And furthermore, in overcoming not only “the horizontal fragmentation between the various competences on tourism but also the vertical one with the Regions. The good news is that we agree on the key points: digital revolution and unitary promotion of the Italian brand”, he said.
“The general objective is to strengthen the production capacity of the tourism industry which at this moment needs a very simple thing: to buy time”, he underlined referring to the words of Premier Draghi. “The first thing that will restart will be tourism”. Commitment also for the reimbursements of operators in the sector. “There are about 228 million for agencies and tour operators, – he said – we will see how to speed up repayments”. Then the minister confirmed that the Sostegni decree will come out this week: “it will be as self-applicable as possible” and inspired by a “different philosophy on general and quicker interventions”. Tomorrow afternoon, however, a new round for Garavaglia in the Senate when he will be audited in the Senate by the EU Budget and Policy Committees on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. (by Cristina Armeni)