Bit has closed its gates, and we are trying to organise a mental picture of the impressions received. For a few days, Milan has been the point of reference of Italian and international tourism, but… This edition has certainly showed a lower profile, with a widespread and perceptible sense of unease, which we think reflects the strange period we are living. On the one hand, indicators point to the shy beginning of a positive economic cycle, with many new tourism projects being designed or implemented, while on the other hand, instead of the enthusiasm one could expect, the sentiment seems to be one of fatigue and despondency. Hopefully just a passing phase.
One of the things that have unfavourably caught my attention at Bit, was the presence of the U.S.A. with such a sad and anonymous space as to almost be ridiculous. The stands were almost empty of quality material; even the Hawaii space, which should have conveyed liveliness and joy, made those islands appear as an unexciting and forlorn destination. The times seemed to be long gone (but it was yesterday!) when the U.S.A. had a significant presence.
What is most surprising is that the U.S.A. is present in Milan, too, with its Visit USA Association Italy, and could therefore have supported its representation easily; any consideration that a falling dollar may make a qualified presence in foreign events too expensive should be in fact reversed: a weak dollar favours foreign tourism towards the U.S.A.
It is a shame, because I think the United States is absolutely one of the best destinations, which – like all destinations – cannot do without adequate promotion.
It is probably France’s promotion capability (in addition to the unquestionable value of its tourist proposals) that accounts for its first position worldwide as tourist destination, and for the same reason Italy has fallen to the fourth place.
Tourism is a sensitive business, which requires a great amount of attention, continuity and – above all – consistency. Next month, the Itb of Berlin will provide us with more insights into the state of the tourist business.
Translation of the Italian
editorial by Pasola Praloran