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“Tourism Investment” event's Highlights. Special Guest speaker Aldo Mazzocco

10 Apr 2017

2017 is an year of great change for "Tourism Investment" ( from now on TI), an event that links the real estate industry and the world of tourism and that - after three years - moves from Bergamo (where took place during the b2b fair "No Frills") in Milan, to emphasize also the largest international appointment. A right choice, judging by the excellent turnout of workers, about 400, who are gathered at the prestigious Hotel Meliá Milano, venue that has successfully hosted the event.

"We have also decided to move TI from September to April to take advantages of synergies with other important event such as BIT and Salone del Mobile. Our goal is to promote tourism image and bring a positive 'sun' in Italian, "explained Giorgio Bianchi, Director-Head of the Italy of PKF hotelxeperts  

Why do foreign people see Italy in a different way from how we see ourselves? Laura Dominici asked. (Laura is a journalist of the publication Guida Viaggi and she moderates the first panel proposed to the crowded room.

 "Perhaps abroad are frightened by the Italian government: dull, phlegmatic and inconclusive '' said Michael Widmann, Managing Director of PKF hotelexperts "although it must be noted that not always investors are looking for stability in other European countries, such as Germany , France and the UK, today yields are very low and therefore look with increasing interest to Italy. " Situation seems also confirmed by the numbers, given that in 2016 the sector of the tourism real estate in Italy has been able to attract foreign investments of around one billion Euros. "The truth is that the industry, through the concerted efforts of many, is moving and is progressing: we must abandon the self-defeating approach of many of us," said Alessandra Priante, Head of International Relations of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MIBACT), which has then illustrated the main lines of the new "Strategic Plan of Tourism" which provides for interventions to be here until 2022 with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of the industry. Tourism now accounts for about 12% of national GDP and 13% of employment in Italy.

"There are 4 main interventions to enhance the competitiveness of our tourism system'' added Alessandra Priante, of which the main one is the refinancing of the "tax credit system" for the modernization of tourist facilities, for which resources are confirmed 460 million euro until 2020.Morever, MIBACT reached an agreement with the MISE for the creation of various digital services to help the industry, most notably the creation of a WI-FI broadband network nationwide. There will also be resources for 90 million euro to promote sustainable mobility and an additional 60 million euro to boost particular paths such as Via Francigena and Via Appia.

Stefano Mantella - the State Property Manager, confirmed the great attention given to the tourism sector as well: "No coincidence that we are participating in all the most important events for the promotion of tourism, including the 'Berlin IHIF to disclose that the country may be of interest to investors. Our business is supported by ICE, who continues to open new "desk" in foreign countries with the aim of attracting investors to assets that can be attractive. We are also working with AICA to identify new secondary location besides the usual four famous cities: Milan, Rome, Venice and Florence. The difficulty that we find is that often the foreign investor requires a significant discount on the purchase price, up to 40% -60%, which does not make the task interesting: it is not possible to sell off major assets on which is always present the Court of Auditors occurs. "

"It'sright to do promotional activities for trophy assets that can be made attractive to investors but the world of tourism is not just this, and indeed much of the hospitality industry remains bound and oppressed by a too heavy bureaucracy. To attract foreign investors, we also need to act in terms of simplification of bureaucracy, "emphasized Walter Pecoraro, Chairman of Federalberghi Rome and Lazio. "Today many family jewels have been sold, and Italians entrepreneurs is everything else that must continue to be maintained. However, operators collide with the reality of the "sharing economy", which is actually a "shadow economy" as it does not create any job and does not pay taxes. It should regulate the industry as soon as it has been already done in other European countries. "

Giorgio Palmucci, president of Confindustria Hotel, agreed with this idea, according to which "the sharing economy "is a fast-growing phenomenon and that can not be prevented. However there are many situations and opacity rules are needed not so much to stop the phenomenon, but to make life easier to the tourist sector by giving it a new impetus: In this historic moment there is a pool of 18 million tourists who were used to going on Egypt , Libya and Tunisia and now are looking for new destinations in the Mediterranean. They should not only in Spain and Greece. The Italian tourism industry must be able to intercept this opportunity and this is the right time to take a fast track. "

And certainly to give an accelerated is fundamental the role of the banks, calls to support and give new life to future expansion projects of large and small hotel chains.

Stefano Melazzini, Head of Mediocredito Italiano (Intesa Sanpaolo Group) said that now the feedback in the tourism sector are no longer quantitative but qualitative, and also very refined "because in the past many liabilities belly banks have come just from this sector. Having the property to guarantee the loan is no longer so relevant because if the location is not interesting anyway then the bank can not sell it. So today, in a context in which the sector is becoming more complex, valuations are incoming and they are looking at the structure's ability to be "filled" and generate profitability"

To generate new income hoteliers have yet always new arrows available to their bow. Some examples of these "arrows" were given during the Panel moderated by Paola G. Lunghini, Director of Economics and www.internews.biz REAL ESTATE, from Massimiliano Macaione, Partner of Gianni, Origoni, Grippo & Partners, who briefly explained the data benefits from using contracts "Management Agreement" instead of traditional leases. "It is a business model where the owner is not on the track to watch the tenant who drives the car on the circuit, but is himself driving the vehicle assisted by the tenant who acts as navigator at his side," explained Macaione with a metaphor. The Management Agreements come from the Anglo-Saxon world, and are primarily used in the five-star luxury hotel sector.

Carlo Capelli, CFO and Board Member of Technogym, has instead announced that the Technogym Group provides its equipment with approximately 15,000 hotels worldwide. "It is not just fitness machines, but also the software for the management of an attractant / sports center within the hotel capable of generating new business development. Today the management of a hotel is becoming increasingly complex and Technogym also has the ability to provide specialized personnel to manage GYM SPA areas or within the structures. " A true philosophy. That's right, now the hotel has become a microcosm that may contain everything from shopping to leisure, sport.

Palmiro Noschese, Managing Director Italy of Meliá Hotels International, confirmed that now only 65% ​​of the business comes from the "fair room" while the remaining 35% is linked to other related activities that serve to diversify, create new creativity and attractiveness structure.

"With this new complexity in the management, the challenge for the future is a challenge to quality education in order to create new manager for the future. In the next year, tourism should rise from 12% of GDP to almost 20%. Are we able to manage this growth? "

After Melia in Piazza della Repubblica and the project of hotel and condo hotel all 'inside "Galfa Tower", Noschese confirmed that Melia Hotel Group is thinking of a presence in Sicily and other southern regionsin Italy with high quality structures. There is an interest in the cities of Venice and Florence, where the group is still absent. "The goal is to get to eleven / twelve high quality products to become increasingly the benchmark in the luxury segment."

Paola G. Lunghini therefore provided the closing remarks of the morning's work to Aldo Mazzocco, Head of Group Real Estate of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, and "special guest" TI excellence.

"Tourism is a sector that is changing its skin turning into a galaxy of sub-sectors and new sectors, thanks to the invasion of new digital technologies. Within this galaxy CDP started and carries a support activity to the competitiveness of tourism and thus the entire country, "debuted Mazzocco. 

CDP has up to now operated with a dual role: on the one hand by detecting properties owned by the Local Authorities (ie people who generally do not have resources) to retrain them, transform them and present them to the market a new look much more attractive. The old structures are not transformed only in new hotels, but also in buildings for "social housing", "smart housing" and the new offices for the Public Administration. On the other hand, with the creation of a specific real estate fund worth 100 million Euros dedicated to tourism, CDP operates chains and supporting tourism businesses through "buy-and-lease back" operations that allow companies to ease the weight of buildings and release new resources to invest in new business activities.

Mazzocco has confirmed that the Fund's resources have been committed, and by summer the Fund will definitely take 7-8 structures managed by 3 - 4 specialist managers.

"It's a result that we did not expect so soon, and that gives us satisfaction, hoteliers have realized that the" walls "can be transferred without problems, and that CDP does not want to maximize their profit, but must give a" key "to growth the country "said Mazzocco.

The top manager finally added that "Italy has always had in its oil and tourism has always extracted very easily. Too easily. Today, however, the industry has changed a lot and we have to learn to go at 3000 meters deep: thus serve new tools. " And a different culture and intelligence.

(*) Francesco Tedesco is a freelance of www.internews.biz Economia Immobiliare, he is an environmental engineer in renewable energy and journalist


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