Colao plan, measures for tourism and culture: Italy will have to become an excellence in art management

Here is all that the Colao Plan provides for boosting tourism and culture.

The Colao Plan (officially, report Restarting Safely), or the program to revive the country after the Covid-19 coronavirus emergency, prepared by Vittorio Colao (appointed by the Conte government to lead the country’s economic restart after the pandemic) together with his task force (the “Committee of Experts on Economic and Social Matters”), identifies tourism, art and culture as one of the most important parts of this revival.

In the section entitled “Tourism, Art and Culture, a Country’s Brand,” the report prepared by Colao recalls that the sector “contributes extremely significantly to our country’s economy, generating (including induced activities) about 13 percent of GDP and employing more than 4 million people.” Italy, according to Colao’s plan, although it can count on a unique and distinctive heritage worldwide in terms of quality and breadth and variety, and although the sector is growing, “it does not take full advantage of its potential (for example, Sicily, in the face of a coastal extension and climatic conditions comparable to the Balearic Islands has ten times fewer overnight stays). This condition has resulted in a significant erosion of market share: in Italy between 2010 and 2019, the sector grew by an average of 4.5 percent annually compared to 6 percent in the main Mediterranean competitors.”

The pandemic has caused a dramatic reduction in the sector, and consequently investment will be needed to revive it. The plan includes four goals: the defense of the 2020 tourism season and the international perception of Italy for the relaunch in 2021; a new governance and strategy for tourism to ensure the optimal exploitation and management of the sector; the enhancement and development of the country’s offerings; a strong enhancement of the artistic and cultural heritage, which according to the report is the country’s “true DNA and primary source of attractiveness tourism of Italy,” by acting “on both the resources front through the creation of an integrated plan to attract private capital to strengthen the endowment dedicated to Art and Culture, and on the governance of the management of artistic and cultural entities, and, finally, on the skills front,” integrating existing artistic and cultural offerings (e.g., museums) with university or specialized training paths.

As for the defense of the 2020 season, the report plans to allow different levels of business openings and different timelines for reopening, define local health risk levels in a manner consistent with European guidelines, and communicate epidemiological data in a timely manner. Regarding the protection of the sector and employment, it will be necessary to provide for concessions and defiscalization for 2020 and 2021, incentivizing operators to open while preserving employment, provide by law for risk-sharing between landlords and operators (or alternatively incentivize renegotiation of commercial rents), extend expiring concessions (e.g., beaches), establish a Covid fund to economically support museums, cultural cultural and performing arts, parks and protected areas that have lost revenue, coordinate a communication and promotion campaign that positions Italy at the same level of attractiveness as comparable destinations, with a particular focus on measures for tourist safety, and in case of non-opening in the immediate future incentivize operators to undertake redevelopment and renovation activities during the closing period.

A “Tourism Italy Presidium” will then be created, focused on the recovery and revitalization of the sector over the next three years with the goal of ensuring horizontal governmental and vertical territorial coordination during the revitalization period, as well as a Tourism Italy Plan that will serve to improve the quality, safety and competitiveness of tourism in Italy by developing as soon as possible as soon as possible a long-term strategic plan, articulated on the priority levers of intervention, and a Tourism Italy Communication Plan to improve the country’s image in the media (Italy, the fact sheets linked to the report state, “enjoys an extraordinary image potential, but communication and image management activities are not effective compared to the main competitors.”

The enhancement of the country’s tourism offer will come through incentives for structural improvements for accommodation facilities, incentives for the consolidation of the tourism sector to support the creation of business networks and aggregations, the improvement of the quality of the accommodation system, the promotion and marketing of tourism products, and the development of new tourism products with high potential demand, especially “if premium and international.” On the latter front, it will be necessary to “enhance the unexpressed potential of the country’s offer, incentivizing the low season,defining school calendars in advance, encouraging tourist hubs in areas with high natural, landscape or cultural potential, strengthening the network and activities of Italian Creative Cities,” and developing products focused on specific “verticals” (e.g., boating, food and wine, shopping, skiing). Then there will be actions to improve tourist transport with investments in key infrastructure links related to high-potential and currently missing tourist areas/poles,enhancing High Speed rail backbones, some smaller tourist airports and intermodal logistics for art cities. As for tourism training, it will need to be improved and strengthened financially to ensure quality prepared resources through a reward system linked to quality standard.

As for the artistic and cultural heritage, the first point is theattraction of private capital: it will be necessary to “develop an integrated plan of captal attraction to strengthen the endowment dedicated to Art and Culture” through the strengthening of tax incentives and international promotion tools to solicit donations and sponsorships (eliminating or raising, where possible, the limits currently provided by law). Still, there will be to “launch impact-investing funds dedicated to Italian Art and Culture, defining privileges for subscribers and protections for beneficiary entities and favoring their allocation to specific and geographic chapters to ensure maximum mobilization of philanthropic capital and local impact.”

A reform of the management models of arts and cultural entities capable of “allowing for a full exploitation of the country’s potential and greater freedom and specific creativity in the forms of fruition” will then be needed: in particular, according to the Colao plan, there is a need “to free structures from current management constraints (e.g., procurement code, expiration of concessions) and to favor public-private development initiatives” and “to develop new incentive systems for companies holding concessions in order to reward virtuous management.” Museum concessions, the outlines state, will have to be optimized in terms of allocation and management mechanisms, developing “renewed logics for the awarding of contracts and museum concessions for additional services,” “renewing the system of incentives for concession-holding companies in order to reward virtuous managements,” and “distinguishing the model of the concession related to large museums from that related to widespread heritage.” The plan will also have to identify sites and assets with unexpressed potential by incentivizing their use, including through the exploitation of synergies with private individuals, in compliance with regulations aimed at avoiding the exploitation of sites for purely private purposes but allowing their enhancement.

There will then be a need to address the enhancement of museum skills by supplementing existing artistic and cultural offerings with university or specialized training courses: to do this, according to the plan, it will be necessary to “create a selected network of large public and private museums, archaeological sites and places of culture recognized as research institutions having access to funding from the Ministry of Universities and management autonomy,” “allow the institutions involved the possibility to take on responsibilities as the ’ringleader’ of art, involving smaller Italian collections in their educational activities,” and also “to structure a process of regular evaluation of the institutions, so as to measure not only the quantity of visitors, but also the quality of services provided (to the public and students).”

The idea is to establish training courses in museums and archaeological sites allowing Italy to “become a center of excellence for art management” while significantly improving the usability of the heritage-artistic toric.

In the photo: Sicily, Selinunte

Colao plan, measures for tourism and culture: Italy will have to become an excellence in art management
Colao plan, measures for tourism and culture: Italy will have to become an excellence in art management

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