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Italy, bested by France and Spain, looks to revive stagnant tourism sector

Excerpt from Wall Street Journal

Jan 18, 2013 7:23 am

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One wouldn’t think of Italy as a country that struggling to attract tourists, but outdated regulations are keeping it from fully benefitting from its rich history and scenic coast.

— Samantha Shankman

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Artur Staszewski  / Flickr

Riomaggiore, one of five villages in Cinque Terre, a popular tourist destination in Italy. Artur Staszewski / Flickr


Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government is expected on Friday to unveil measures aimed at reviving the country’s tourism sector, an industry that has lost ground to Spain and France over the past two decades.

The plan includes amendments to hotel building regulations, revamping tourism taxes, more carefully targeted use of public money funneled into the sector and improving training for aspiring hoteliers and tourism graduates.

Tourism accounts for 8.6% of Italy’s gross domestic product and 9.7% of employment, according to figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council. That compares with 14.9% of GDP for Spain and 9.3% for France, where tourism also generates more jobs than in Italy.

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