Milan is a moonscape city on this chilly morning, closed to car traffic because of pollution. Very different from the air we breathed last year, approaching the festive season. There is an aura of patient resignation, even the Christmas lights are incredibly sad, as if they had been pulled out of musty old boxes – they are there as a matter of inevitability. In the mountains, just a scanty dusting of snow – which does not help the tourist sector which should have benefited most from the decrease in bookings for distant destinations. The economic page of Corriere della Sera reports the statistics of a recession which has by now spread to the whole world: unemployment in the USA is at 5.7%; industrial production in October was down by 2.1 in Germany; and Italy is the G7 country with the lowest OECD Composite Leading Indicator. This year-end does indeed not reflect the spirit of the previous one: Until September 2001 we had moments of euphoria, marking record after record – in employment, tourist sales, number of foreign visitors coming to our country – and maybe we were so busy doing the reckoning of our success, that we did not realise a general economic deterioration had matured, to be further emphasised by the events of 11th of September. We had a long period of economic growth, and wished it would continue forever. History teaches that this is impossible. In times of severe hardships, it is certainly difficult to act with detachment – not to go too far in cutting costs that are not directly operational, not to reduce personnel below a reasonable level. In times of recovery, however, the operators who have been capable to make use of this period to reorganise and enhance their internal resources will be rewarded. A few shy signs of recovery are already becoming perceptible, and my wish this year – in addition to the traditional Happy Holidays wishes- is that the New Year may bring the conditions for a rapid recovery, a less uncertain future, and serenity within our families.
Uncertainties and the New Year
Di Job in Tourism, 14 Dicembre 2001