This is the value of tourism in the city according to the analysis drawn up by Guido Caselli and Matteo Beghelli of the Study Center, monitoring the economy and statistics for Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna. It’s a tourism industry, which exploded in recent years and employs almost 40,000 (9% of the provincial total) and affects more than 8,200 companies (almost 10% of the provincial total). Furthermore, it has been able to react better and more efficiently during the crisis than most other sectors and thus, become the local economy’s main growth factor.
Among the 110 Italian provinces, only 15 have recovered to the levels of wealth before 2008: Bologna is third in this special ranking, and forecasts indicate further growth in the coming years. Responding to the best practices in this field including people services and lodging-catering, which allowed the city to climb to the top of the national ranking (together with Milan). Regarding the exact value generated from tourism in Bologna the study shows that for every 100 euro of direct added value, another 140 are added from indirect activities.
Matteo Lepore, Councilor for Tourism commented, “These figures are unthinkable if we go back to 2011 and the growth will continue in the coming years thanks to the ‘assets’ that we have set in place. A synergistic work based on investments made in the airport and at Bologna Welcome.” And it is precisely this where Marconi airport is shown to play a fundamental role for arrivals in the city, especially among foreigners (more than 50% of the total). In the metropolitan area total arrivals in 2017 were 2,175,000, with an increase of 14% from 2016. A tourist spends on average 108 euro a day, most for accommodation (44%) and catering (33%), more than for normal purchases (17%).
Study: 2/3 of visitors visit the city, indicating the amount of work in progress to promote the metropolitan areas. “There’s still a lot to do, especially with local communities,” confirms Celso De Scrill, President of Bologna Welcome, “The idea is to promote two offers: propose a service to encourage tourists to sleep overnight in those areas; the second is to promote the advantage of those areas: green/environmental aspects.”
The most generous spenders are the Turkish and Americans (130 euro per day), while the least spendthrifts are the French and Spaniards (86 euro per day). At the heart of the Unioncamere study is the theme of the ‘sharing economy’ and the Airbnb platform, ‘which has shown enormous growth over the last 10 years with monopolistic tendencies’ Beghelli explains that, “The sharing economy in tourism has come to stay so now new regulations and an accurate operational management are urgently needed.”
But if tourism takes off, culture also benefits from it. “We want to show that we are not only the ‘city of cutting boards’,” adds Lepore, “5% of the municipal budget (6 million euro) goes to finance cultural policies. And it is also thanks to the residence tax that this figure has increased over the years.” On the tourist tax, the first quarter of 2018 marked a record: 1.5 million in revenue, also attributed to the new tax model for Airbnb introduced at the end of 2017, which the Comune implemented as a direct result of a meeting they had with Airbnb in London last year.