29,000 agency employees are at risk

Stefano Corbari, president of Fiavet Lazio

With an open letter, Fiavet Lazio stresses the danger that thousands of travel agencies and therefore tens of thousands of workers are running, under the perfectly indifferent eye of the institutions. We report it in full.

«What value can we give to the tourism sector at the moment? It is not new that the policy complied with by the Italian state is committing several errors of assessment.

Let’s start from the actual value of this sector, 13% of GDP, a network of 4.2 million employees in this sector that has made Italy a leader in Europe of which around 29,000 people nationwide in travel agencies. , without taking into account the work performed by the owners and family collaborators.

Other useful references: Among the most important revenues in the tourism sector are those generated by segments such as honeymoons abroad and major international tours.

Agencies and Tour Operators set in motion a very complex and varied supply chain which includes, among others, accommodation services, public establishments, bathing establishments and amusement parks. Trade and tourism have employed over 5.4 million workers, more than the entire manufacturing industry.

Now let’s give an important figure that weighs heavily on about 10 thousand authorized travel agencies: we have witnessed the legalization of so-called “no-profit” companies which obviously do not contribute to GDP. This means that the institutions allow these 38,000 illegal operators, not only to be unfair competitors for the agencies, but also to evade taxes up to about 2 billion euros.

Money that could be spent to heal the huge black holes created by the forced closure.

It was therefore imagined that the institutions would guarantee, in a moment of severe crisis, their support for these realities that have worked for the Italian state in a transparent way.

Instead, the intervention of the Minister of Maio has displaced the tour operators. Without batting an eye it was established that in Italy there is a Turismo of Serie A and a Turismo of Serie B.

Let’s make a premise: we cannot speak of National Tourism or International Tourism: tourism, as we understand it, is only one. It is the one that operates in Italy with foreign and Italian tourists, it is the one that operates abroad with Italian tourists.

Perhaps it escapes that authorized and licensed Agencies and Tour Operators pay taxes to the Italian State and that its 29,000 employees are physically people who live in Italy and in turn pay taxes to the Italian State.

We do not want to think that this reasoning has not been made, the economic weight it carries with it is so evident. But then, where do you want to go?

The summer was supposed to be the relaunch of this sector, so heavily compromised, instead a series of alerts, absolutely legitimate from the Farnesina, about departures to Europe, which were immediately reworked by the media with great headlines causing panic.

We realize that information is important: informing, assisting, accompanying travelers is the basis of our work. We are the first to do it. It is important that our compatriots are well, but the best solution is warnings and not warnings. For example, suggesting to those who are leaving to be cautious, use a mask, wash their hands often, keep the right physical distance. Which are the same rules that are asked to respect in Italy.

It does not seem fair to the warning of Minister Di Maio who on the one hand denigrates the trip abroad and on the other exalts the trip to Italy, as if he had forgotten that the infections have risen in equal measure also in our national territory.

So, in this case, what should we say to Italian citizens? not to travel to Italy?

For the very large, expanded tourist company, the above data speak, which does not seem to have been rightly and carefully considered: it is as if this company, on the other hand, were small and of little consequence. To clarify the concept: where are the missing refreshment points for all those who have not been able to operate in the tourism sector? There are 17 months of gap, during which Agencies and Tour Operators have held out optimistically thinking about the future. But someone took advantage of it and this story begins to make itself felt.

Especially when you think about the many funds not disbursed effectively such as unused holiday bonuses. About half of the eligible families either did not spend it, or were unable to spend it.

It is good that the institutions, rather than closing the channels for Europe, instead take action in favor of the only useful tool: the Green Pass. Pressure must be put in place for the EU member states to formulate common guidelines and not, as we have seen, to move with an autonomous management.

Cooperation is the most powerful weapon to counter the spread of the virus, not the blocking of our lives and travels, and citizens must be clearly shown how to behave, both abroad and in Italy “.