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Report on the crisis

Di Antonio Caneva, 12 Settembre 2003

A famous Frank Sinatra song suggests that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I would like to paraphrase this concept, by saying that if you can make it at this time, you will make it at any time.
It is a pun, but one that is close to reality; whenever had the situation been such – at least in my memory – that in just one year so many negative causes had accumulated? A war, a global pandemic, terrorism, the explosive Middle East predicament, a recession that has bitten in both western and eastern economies, in rich and emerging countries simultaneously… Is this not enough? Then let’s add weather catastrophes, political tensions and what have you.
Definitely a critical period, but we are all (or nearly all) nonetheless still here today to take stock of recent events. One thing is certain – this year could have been worse. It seems, from talking with tourist operators, that somehow, in a patchy way, difficulties have been handled successfully, and there is some optimism in getting ready for the autumn season.
This year, foreign tourism slowed down considerably; this season German visitors, who have always been a very important market for Italy, were drastically fewer in number; their absence has had a significant impact especially in some areas such as Romagna, where their presence used to be regarded as a thing of nature.
In spite of these considerations, tourism is preserving its vitality, new important hotels are expected to open in the near future, large international companies are showing increasing interest in our country, and even last year’s losses by some important tour operators have turned into profits, or have at least improved.
After two years of serious difficulties, starting on 11th September 2001, the system has probably seized an opportunity to reorganise and reposition itself based on different premises. The world economy is showing some signs of recovery: in the USA the GDP is expected to grow by 3% in the second half of the year, and stock markets – typically anticipating economic trends – have recovered momentum both in the United States and in Japan.
Should we draw a sigh of relief? It is too early to do so, particularly for our country with its unresolved problems: the low economic growth, de-industrialisation, the rise in certain prices… but I am convinced that the worst is gone, witness the renewed liveliness of the labour market in our sector, which had previously not been seen for quite some time.

Transltion of the Italian
editorial by Paola Praloran

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