Read us | Listen to us | Watch us | Join Live Events | Turn Off Ads | Live |

Click on your language to translate this article:

Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Catalan Catalan Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Danish Danish Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Irish Irish Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Welsh Welsh Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Yoruba Yoruba Zulu Zulu

Italy spends to lure tourists as crisis bites

Written by editor

ROME – Italy launched a 10 million euro ($13 million) international advertising campaign on Tuesday to lure back tourists as the economic crisis hammers one of the Mediterranean country’s biggest indu

ROME – Italy launched a 10 million euro ($13 million) international advertising campaign on Tuesday to lure back tourists as the economic crisis hammers one of the Mediterranean country’s biggest industries.

Venetian canals, Roman ruins and Italy’s wealth of Renaissance art have long attracted travelers but the economic slowdown and weaker foreign currencies prompted a 5 percent fall in tourism revenues in 2008, tourism chief Matteo Marzotto said.

That loss of about 4 billion euros translated into a 0.3 percent fall in gross domestic product, he said. Tourism accounts for about 11 percent of GDP, and employs about 3 million Italians, making it one of Italy’s biggest sectors.

Predicting more trouble during the Easter holidays and an uncertain summer ahead, Marzotto on Tuesday unveiled a national advertising campaign abroad, the first in three years, to win back crisis-hit tourists.

“We’re in the middle of a war,” Marzotto, who heads the national tourism board ENIT, told reporters. “Despite having a good winter season, we expect problems during Easter.”

Tourism levels were expected to remain stable or slide further in 2009, he said.

Dubbed “Italia Much More,” the new campaign includes 15-, 30- and 60-second television spots featuring tourists posing by the Colosseum or Venice’s Grand Canal, or stumbling upon Italy’s lesser-known sights like unspoilt beaches and its ski slopes.

“Italy needs a campaign that goes beyond the usual stereotypes,” said Marzotto, noting that the lagoon city of Venice alone attracts as many tourists in a year as the whole of Italy’s southern region.

“‘Italia Much More’ means more exceptional sights, getting lost in Italy, seeing how we live the Italian lifestyle.”

The ads will be shown on national television in Italy’s main tourist markets — Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Britain, the United States and Canada.

The campaign marks a new direction for Italian tourism, which Marzotto has criticized in the past as being driven by too many local or regional marketing campaigns competing with each other at the expense of a coherent national campaign to draw visitors.

Italy has more UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites than any other country but tourism bodies have complained its competitiveness has been slipping.

A garbage crisis in Naples that won widespread publicity abroad and the bankruptcy of national carrier Alitalia last year has also weighed on the industry.