I few days ago I had a phone conversation with a friend who was not sure where to go for Christmas. He said «Vienna, Paris or maybe London: they are so beautiful at Christmas». Wow! What cleverness in this sentence: they are beautiful at Christmas. I really mean, it’s clever.
In Milan, on the 7th of December, the feast day of St. Ambrose, the city’s patron saint, I took a walk in the city centre to view the Christmas lightings. Disheartening, like last year. Maybe even worse. And to think that I had heard about a large budget. Just one embarrassing tree sponsored by an express courier, and leave alone the rest.
Business tourism is the characteristic client segment of Milanese hotels. But we also have leisure tourism in this city. Are we willing to support it? On an international level, for many people, Milan is about shopping.
If we think of leisure tourism, mind you, don’t you think that Christmas decorations are a tool to promote tourism, not a waste?
Don’t you think that in the Christmas period Milan, as a tourist destination, could compete with other European cities? Why spend a weekend and go shopping in a city made more dismal – rather than beautiful – by the Christmas decorations?
It is a budgeting decision, of course, but a blind one. I’m not saying short-sighted, but truly blind, because it just does not see tourism at all.
As usual, tourism is not being thought about, and when any consideration is given to it, it is without a coordinated vision, just by random actions. Naturally, what I am saying about Christmas in Milan applies to many Italian tourist destinations over the four seasons.
Working on simple ideas may be useful and immediate, but there is a liking for things complicated and vague. It seems to be the “cool” thing to do. Meetings, studies and monologues, all to come up with nothing. And, in the end, for many people it is more convenient to talk about nothing than to work on some concrete project.
I would have never thought I would be back to writing precisely at Christmas, being a person who does not even make a Christmas tree at home!