Tourism, Puglia and Basilicata saved from the sea


They have reopened for a few weeks, after a very black spring and nothing, it is clear, will fully compensate the Apulian-Lucan tour operators, their employees and the economies of the two regions, but – to hear the testimonies – this is an unexpected July work, especially in coastal areas. Indeed, to be honest, it is precisely the amazing sea that attracts travelers by saving Puglia and Basilicata from the abyss in which the health emergency had precipitated them.

Sea beats art The trend, now confirmed in the facts, was intercepted last June by a survey commissioned by Assoturismo Confesercenti to CST Firenze, from which it emerged that the South of tourism would have had more appeal than the rest of Italy and that in the ranking of the most popular locations , in the first place there would have been the marine ones, followed by the mountain, rural and hilly ones and the last cities of art and business.

According to Francesco Caizzi, president of Federalberghi Puglia, “on average, 30% of hotels have not opened. Especially in large cities, where the percentage reaches 40%. While it is better in seaside resorts. There they hold up with a “sea flow” that works, especially on weekends, with Italian and Apulian travelers ». For the next few months “tourists are expected from the Center-North who traditionally move to August”. “The problem – he says – is that the Adriatic ridge is almost all in one lane. They do the maintenance, after what happened in Genoa, but, however, you travel in one lane. Not to mention the railways, even there … we only needed this problem at Termoli-Lesina (on the doubling of the single track, the Via-Vas Commission of the Ministry of the Environment expressed a negative opinion to protect some species of birds; ed.). For airports you go into fits and starts (see box on this page; ed.). Let’s say that we saw something more than in May and hopefully.

Hopefully also in good weather which is another important variable because, as never before, it is last-minute holidays, with people waiting for the last useful moment ». According to Caizzi, “we still have 50% full structures”, but obviously “we are far from last year’s 17 million admissions”. And it is true that «Puglia is the most clicked, but clicks turn into tickets if there are infrastructures. And we also say that for us southerners the time has come to understand that, if we divide, there are those who take advantage of it ». Incidentally, Caizzi is the man chosen by the President of the Region Michele Emiliano last month to head the coordination of the “Technical working committee for the restart of the hotel and non-hotel accommodation sector”, set up at PugliaPromotion.

Also for Filippo De Miccolis Angelini, president of Terranostra Puglia, agritourism and environmental association of Coldiretti: “In Puglia the most popular alternatives are the farmhouses near the sea or immersed in the cool countryside”.

“Let’s say we can’t complain – says Antonio Nicoletti, managing director of the APT of Basilicata – In June there was a timid recovery, but with an important reopening of the services and structures that have shown that they have been able to resist the closure. Regional aid to the sector then intervened: € 53 million, substantial aid. Now, in July, we see the resumption of bookings and presences and we also welcome with great pleasure some foreign tourists, especially Belgians and French.

Also many Swiss. Let’s say tourists from Central and Northern Europe. And then, in the alleys of Matera we start to go zigzag again. A nice feeling after all this time. We then record, from monitoring our “Basilicata En Plein Air” promotion campaign, especially on social networks, an interest from foreign visitors who connect a bit from all over Europe but, importantly, from the United States of America. Click that will hopefully become airline tickets. ”

No bulk closures They are the “cold”, crucial, given to give the measure of the current ascent. According to the Study Office of Unioncamere Puglia, in fact, compared to the last quarter of 2019, tourism businesses in the first – horrible – quarter 2020 held. There were no planned mass closings (-38 companies is not considered an appreciable figure). There has been, it is true – the experts comment – a drop of a thousand employees, but it could refer to the probable effect of layoffs.

And, above all, the trend variation of the first quarter of 2020, if compared to the same quarter of 2019, sees data clearly growing, both as companies and as employees. The effects of the crisis will be seen in the second half of 2020 and in the first of 2021 (as foreseen by the Unioncamere Puglia “Seismograph” dossier), and it will be assessed, a posteriori, what the elasticity of this sector will be with respect to the crisis.

STR Global, a leader in research and analysis of destinations and trends in tourism on a global scale, has “fresh” data. For Marco Malacrida, president of Italy of Res Hospitality Business Developers, partner company of Str, and director of Italy for the global giant: «Italian luxury hotels are starting to fill up. Obviously, American foreigners are white flies, there are French people instead ». “Mid-range hotels suffer a little more, because people don’t spend, they are afraid”. For the expert, “in Italy we need massive injections of confidence”. The organization of Malacrida works in Puglia only with the best of the Salento accommodation and from the data that the «Gazzetta» has been able to view it clearly emerges how, from the suffering of June with, at the beginning of the month, the daily «room occupation» nailed to a -83% compared to 2019, the situation has improved, day after day, reaching a minimum of -22.5%, reached last Wednesday, July 8th.

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