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Tourism: a business necessitating knowledge

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 18 Gennaio 2002

A few feeble signs of recovery are letting us begin to hope that tourism has overcome its worst phase, following the 11th of September. A frenzy of acquisitions, renovations and feasibility studies is picking up again around the world; businesses are once again hiring staff, and day after day, more and more rapidly, the number of advertisers is growing. Tourism is such an important activity, that it cannot slow down without heavily affecting the economy of a country, and it is with a sense of relief that we are waiting for the first few signals of recovery to turn into firm reality. Tourism is a complex, though fragile, reality: it has its own dynamics and is the focus of specific analyses. It often happens, however, that judgements are passed inappropriately and superficially, based more on emotional factors than on true knowledge. I was particularly struck by the market news in the business page of Corriere della Sera on December 11th. Commenting on a negative market performance for the day, the newspaper mentioned that “the one positive note was the strong recovery of tour operators Grandi Viaggi (+19.70%) and Viaggi del Ventaglio (+10.50%), favoured by traders’ expectation of a recovery of tourism during the Christmas season…”. If we take Viaggi del Ventaglio, for example, we find that the highest quote for the year was EUR 4.242, the official price on that day was EUR 1.953, while the price on the 28th of December (the last trading day of the year) was much lower, amounting to EUR 1.695. What had happened? Was the winter season suddenly going badly, were hotels empty, were people not travelling? Definitely not – winter resorts had never been so busy, and even remote places, close to areas potentially at risk, were booked up. The performance of tourist activities cannot possibly be assessed on the basis of short-period signs. One needs to fully understand the fundamentals of tourism, without being distracted by emotional aspects, which can be more influential than in most other sectors.

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