This work is an excursion about the tourist flow in the Italian regions with a specificfocus on the case of Sicily. First of all is important to say that tourism represents avery important industry in the Italian economy, and it is the only sector in the nationthat passed trough the last international crisis without suffering a contraction but justa mutation (the demand changed its orientation from hotels to other kind ofaccommodations).Tourism in Italy is characterized by a strong demand of cultural and historicaldestinations (international income for cultural and historical destination estimated in65 000 000 arrivals, source ISTAT, 2015) even if the country offers different kinds ofdestinations.As I said the tourism industry in Italy gains every year positive results, but if we take alook to the regional trends is clear that there are lot of differences in results betweenregions.My objective is to analyze and understand Sicily trends in tourism after a generalanalysis of the other regions; I decided to analyze Sicily because it is a particularexample that offers at the same time a very high quality mix of historical, cultural andsun and beach destinations, but its performance in the tourist market related to theother Italian regions (especially in the international market) should be absolutelybetter.This doesn’t mean that the region achieved negative results, Sicily is in the first tenItalian regions in the income ranking, but at the last places.
In my opinion results can be absolutely better because it’s the only region (exceptSardegna and Puglia) that can offer a mix of high quality attractions, it has the mostwonderful beaches in the nation, three big cities (Catania, Palermo and Messina) andother smaller ones that offer an incredible mix of attractions as a lot of museums,ancient theatres and monuments.For this reason I think that the strategic advantage of this region can express betterresults. The presences ( 6967 millions, ISTAT 2015) and the arrivals (2077 millions, ISTAT2015) in Sicily represent a good indicator to analyze the tourism market. If weanalyze the data about the region since the second half of the 90’S we can assumethat the income is constantly increasing.
– How can we read the data about the international tourist expenditure in theregion and what is its relationship with the same indicator in the other regions?The international tourist expenditure can also help us to understand the effects oftourism in the area, and as we can see Sicily obtained the second highest touristexpenditure of South Italy regions in 2014/2015, with a positive percentage variationabout more or less 9 %Statistic is really important for understanding tourism dynamics, we can’t understandtourism without a statistical analysis; we’re talking about a large scale phenomenathat needs a continuos analysis to be explained and monitored, it’s impossible tomanage it without a statistical observation of the phenomena.This work represents data that was yearly collected in different ways, by localadministrations, borders and other kinds of controls and accommodations forinstance.All the data presented in this work comes from official sources as the Italian NationalStatistic Institute (ISTAT), the Italian National Tourism Institute and the RegionalTourism Institute of SicilyTourism in Sicily in the last 25 years generated lot of changes, but to understand thiswe have to take into account that the tourism development in this region waspossible thanks to a mix of political, social and economical changes.The development of the international tourism market in the region created lot of jobs,the internationalization of the region (even if it needs more efforts for the future), thedevelopment of economies related to tourism, the opening of the residents to foreignpeople, the development of air, ground and port transports necessary for theconsolidation process in a destination.
We also have to consider that an opportunitylike tourism in one of the regions of the nation that registers one of the highestunemployment values can be healthy for its economy, in my opinion sicily can be inthe future the Balearic Island of South Italy if the accomodation system will bedeveloped to offer a better service.As we know tourism can also generates kinds of externalities that if not managed andmonitored can be very dangerous for the destination and its residents. In this specificcase the first aspect that we need to take into account is the growth of the prices,before tourism development Sicily was one of the cheapest regions in Italy. More orless in all the region the human pressure caused by mass tourism is generating anincrease in traffic, in a particular way during summer, we have to remember that theregion is subjected to a high tourism seasonality.
Seasonality is also related to jobs inSicily, and if it’s true that tourism generated new employ we need to specify that the60% of it (ISTAT, 2015) is seasonal and unskilled.Considering data we can say that the international tourism industry in Sicily isgrowing relatively fast and it is generating an important expenditure in the area. Thisis possible thanks to the policies that the local government created to develop themarket in the area and to attract investors. Tourism is now an important sector ofSicilian economy and the region occupies the 9th place in the Italian Regions Rankingfor international tourist income.This result in my opinion is positive but the region has the potential to achieve betterresults, considering that even if Sicily is known as a sun and beach destination in theinternational market has very important historical and cultural attractions, not only inthe biggest cities but also in the smallest that, till now, are not publicized in theinternational market.Another thing that must be taken into account is the accomodation capacity,estimated 208.521 beds (hotels + extra hotels, ISTAT, 2015) that must beimplementing to increase the income.
To achieve better results the region needs a mix of factors to be pushed:First of all is necessary to implement the transport and the accomodation systems,with a particular focus on the Sicilian highways and the internal city transport. Theregion needs also more beds to increase the tourist length of stay and more controlon the black market is required: the Regional Government estimated that the illegaloffer of beds and accomodations covers between the 30 and the 40 % of the touristdemand (REGIONE SICILIA, SECURITY REPORT 2017), and this kind of issue isnot acceptable in a developed destination that wants to improve and consolidate itsposition in the international tourism market. The internationalization of Sicily isnowadays relatively poor if we compare it with other direct competitors in Italy andthe region bases the majority of the market on a national demand.
To develop newpolicies in the region is necessary to consider all these aspect and to work in this wayto achieve better results, bigger efforts are needed but the potential of this wonderfulregion can be expressed at 100 % if all the mentioned aspects will be managed. As aconsequence, I’m pretty sure that Sicily could be in the first three- four Italian regionsfor international income and expenditure.