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What is necessary for tourism

Di Antonio Caneva, 1 Aprile 2003

I have been to Montecarlo, invited by the Principality as part of a communication plan intended to publicise the extraordinary development the area is currently undergoing.
The three kilometres of its length are in fact a building yard, having the advantage of being active without being perceived from the outside. All has been prompted by the building of the Grimaldi Forum, a structure created by reclaiming land from the sea, in order to erect a fantastic multifunctional complex that can host conventions, symposia, presentations, theatre performances, indoor tennis tournaments and what have you.
Given the scarcity of available land, hotel establishments have been attempting in all possible ways to expand their sizes or upgrade their offer, which is already premium level. Such dynamicity, however, would have no reason to be, had the public authority not been so farsighted as to create- and make available to the local economy – a structure capable of contrasting the competition of nearby areas, which – let’s not forget – include Nice and Cannes.
Now, any sort of event can be envisaged in Montecarlo: the Grimaldi Forum has acted as an aggregator of various activities, and has filled the need for a space to devote to large events.
In Milan, for example (but the same can be true for many other places in our country), there have been discussions for over 30 years about a Convention Bureau capable to respond to the demand for large events, and to promote the city as a destination, but for a number of different reasons nothing has been accomplished so far.
There are projects that need the public authorities’ attention and intervention if they are to take off, thus allowing to fill spaces which would otherwise be occupied by competitors. It is necessary to dispel certain commonplaces, such as the idea that Milan is in no need of further tourist flows, as it already has the Fair and the fashion business. These peculiarities, on the contrary, should constitute a starting point for seizing more opportunities and for realising large events, in a co-ordinated context.
Italy, with its high attractiveness level, should possess all the necessary characteristics to measure up to the best qualified international competitors. Often, however, it would be necessary to set aside the petty quarrels and – for the general interest, in a correct strategic approach to tourism – to think of far-reaching projects, not confining themselves to the mere advertising of localities.

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