The unimaginable has happened, and we are called to respond in an “unimaginable” way. Immediately after the Twin Towers tragedy, a number of fanciful forecasts have been put forward – whether requested or not – sometimes depicting contrasting scenarios even from the pages of the same newspaper. They were obviously off-the-cuff reactions and, considering the anomaly of the situation, they were far from realistic. Now, three weeks after the tragedy, new scenarios are beginning to take shape in tourism, where a drastic fall in activity to and from certain destinations is even accompanied by a growth of business in other types of tourism. The apocalyptic scene of the planes crashing against the Twin Towers has immediately led to a collapse of airline bookings; the number of passengers from the U.S.A. has drastically declined; just a few days ago we heard the news that the cruising line Renaissance (with as many as ten ships, i.e. larger than Costa Crociere) took their books to the court for a composition with creditors. These are just a few of the most obvious and concrete aspects of the impact on a complex and fragile industry such as tourism, where traditional behaviours have been completely disrupted, and new trends are emerging. Presenting the Axi-Censis report, Giuseppe De Rita has illustrated the behavioural changes which will develop due to the recent tragic events, with one important new element – a significant growth in local tourism. Such a forecast seems to already be confirmed by evidence. World class hotels with an international clientele are suffering, whereas other hotels, oriented to a national customer basis, have preserved and sometimes even increased their business. Nobody can be certain of what will happen in the near future, as prospects are unsure for the whole world. We have to get accustomed to living without certainties, and carefully observing any new developments, being ready to adapt our strategies to a reality which – as I said – was until now unimaginable.
A world full of unknowns
Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 5 Ottobre 2001