Monday, May 7, 2012

How to reboot Italy

As a businessman, my gut leads me to think how could we become the world’s first tourist destination. I am listing below my project objectives and some related initiatives that can reboot our economy. 

The first objective is: a foreigner who wants to travel to Italy should be able to get here easily. The first intervention step is about airports. 

We have to increase substantially the airport-structures of Milano Malpensa, Milano Linate, Milano Orio al Serio, Verona, Venezia, Parma, Bologna, Rimini, Genova, Firenze, Pisa, Trieste, Ancona, Roma Fiumicino, Roma Ciampino, Napoli, Bari, Lecce, Reggio Calabria, Isola d'Elba, Olbia, Cagliari, Alghero, Catania, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Lampedusa, Pantelleria. In all these destinations I would triple accommodation capacity and I would create International hubs to have the highest possible number of major world airlines flying to Italy so to improve the internal/external connection system, with more airlines more frequently. If we take such a direction, when International Tourists arrive here they will find adequate structures. Every airport will have long stay parking lots, Hotel Services and shopping malls. 

The second intervention is about Alitalia, Italy’s Flag carrier. We need to increase its international routes with the major European cities and be able to have at least a daily connection between the main European cities and the airports mentioned in my first intervention step. 

Then Alitalia has to stimulate international tourists to visit Italy: we should offer a savings up to 50% off the airfare tickets to those visitors who are going to stay in Italy for more than one week. I would also create an even more stimulating saving policy for those families with more than two children. Then we have to directly connect Milan Venice, Rome and Florence with the major world capitals on a daily basis. The second Intervention step is: when an International tourist comes to Italy he/she must be able to travel easily, quickly and safely. 

Third Intervention is the Railway System. We have to implement the High Speed Railway in the following routes: 1. Torino Trieste, 2. Verona Bologna, 3. Milano Genova, 4. Ventimiglia Genova La Spezia Viareggio Pisa Grosseto Fiumicino Napoli Salerno Reggio Calabria, 5. Firenze Ancona, 6. Roma Pescara, 7. Napoli Bari, 8. Torino Ventimiglia. 9. Reggio Calabria Messina, 10. Messina Palermo Trapani Siracusa Catania, 11, Cagliari Olbia Alghero Oristano. Through this major infrastructural intervention we would be able to finally complete the whole connection system of our country. Also in each Train station the government should activate an Invitation To Bid for the Business operation of bars, restaurants, hotels (there should be at least one in every station), newsstands, shopping malls and long-stay valet parking. 

The fourth intervention step will be on freeways. 1. Pedemontana, 2. Doubling the Milano Genova, 3. Taking the Torino Savona to three lanes. 4. Milano Lecco Sondrio Livigno, 5. Como Colico, 6. Building a large bypass route in Milano 7. Gravellona Toce Ascona, 8. Bergamo Lodi, 9. Ferrara Verona, 10. Firenze Rimini, 11. Ancona Perugia, 12. Ascoli Terni, 13. Taranto Potenza, 14. Litoranea Taranto Crotone Reggio Calabria. The costs of these freeways will be supported by through a public bidding and a 99-year lease. By doing so the government substantially won’t need to invest a euro in it. 

The fifth intervention step is about providing incentives to those companies that start a road-transportation business: Taxi Cooperatives, Chauffeured Car Rental and Bus companies. We should provide these businesses with a major decrease (at least with a 50% cut) on their Vehicle Excise Duty. By doing so the consumer fares will be reduced as well. Also in this case the excise reduction, will be widely compensated by the increased utilization. 

The sixth intervention step is on public safety. Police and Carabinieri would call for an Invitation To Bid so that in every city there would be an increased force deployment 24/7 and the tourist would have a visible perception of Public Safety. This project tempt people to go out at night. The immediate benefits would be: a reduction in unemployment and an increase in consumer spending because when people go out they are invited to spend. For the government this is another initiative at no additional cost. 

The seventh intervention step is the mandatory teaching of two foreign languages in the Primary School. English as a mandatory course plus another language of your choice. This is to say that at the end of the eight years course you have to show a mother tongue proficiency level. 

The eight intervention step is the development of a major preservation plan on all historical sites. From the Etruscan tombs, to the Roman cities or renaissance buildings, the key point is all this heritage has to be recovered, restored and brought out at its best. The goal of the conservation program is to ensure that the overall condition of our art and archaeological heritage is improved and that all the sites are accessible to the public because at present it’s not. 

The ninth intervention step is to recover all the Italian artworks hidden in our museum basements. We need to build up new museums that should be able to host our entire art collection, including those pieces hidden at the Uffizi Museum, where the works on display are 1835 while those hidden in its basement and in other storage amount to 2300. No comment. The tenth intervention is developing a series of new thermal bath structures. At this regard we should create some designated professional schools with proper major degrees for those people who wish to pursue a career in the beauty industry. At the same time we should create some incentives for the restoration of the existing thermal structures and for the creation of new ones. This intervention will stimulate the economy based on Italy’s ancient cultural legacy. A tourism-related industry that should be boosted in order to increase our country appeal and that will be able to bring foreign visitors and create new jobs. 

The eleventh intervention is about Culture. Theaters must receive more incentives for each ticket sold and tax cuts for those works evoking Italian culture. Every major Italian city must have its own orchestra and their employment agreement have to be competitive with those of the other orchestras in the European Union. Every Lyric Theater must promote daily opera and/or concerts. 

The twelfth intervention is about taxation and supporting those companies who undertake new activities in the tourism industry. 

The thirteenth step is an initiative called “Bella Italia”. Every municipality will be financed by private individuals and from the central government to embellish its own landscape and its territory based on a local implementation project. 

The fourteenth intervention is an active commitment of the Tourism Secretary. All the tourist activities, from reception to transportation to cultural attractions and sport, would be listed under a Public Registry and on the Internet and they have to be easily accessible by visitors both On-line and Off-line. 

The fifteenth step is a partnership initiative with the major international Universities to open new campuses here in Italy. Student exchanges are very important at all levels. 

The sixteenth intervention is a tax cut on properties for foreigners. 

All these initiatives would be able to restart the tourism engine and the construction industry which are two central features of the Italian economy. 

Luigi Foscale

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