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Italy eagerly awaits non-European tourist arrivals, but few expect dramatic changes

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Italy eagerly awaits non-European tourist arrivals, but few expect dramatic changes

The borders of the European Union opened to visitors from beyond Europe Wednesday. Operators from Italy’s beleaguered tourism industry are hoping the date proves to be the start of the sector’s much-needed recovery.


Italy’s tourism industry is normally among the country’s most reliable economic drivers. But the national coronavirus lockdown put into place in early March meant tourism disappeared.

Wednesday’s milestone was the latest in a series of loosening of travel restrictions. On May 18, bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen as long as they respected social distancing rules, and on June 3 Italians were first allowed to move between regions and visitors from most European countries could come to Italy without restrictions.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Tourism noted that more than 100,000 Italian families used their tourism bonus of up to 500 euros (563 United States dollars). But analysts say the tourism sector needs international tourists to survive.

The new rules allow visitors from parts of the world where the coronavirus outbreak is considered to be under control to come to Europe. Among countries whose nationals can visit are Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity. Not on the list — at least not at first — are travelers from Russia and the United States.

“I hope we’ll look back and recognize this point as the beginning of a new phase,” Mara Manente, director of the International Center for Studies on the Economics of Tourism at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, told Xinhua.

Manente said that last year Venice, where she lives, got 88 percent of its visitors from outside Italy. Other regions that depend heavily on international tourism include Lazio, the region that includes Rome; the southern island region of Sicily; and Tuscany, the region that includes Florence.

“Right now the tourism industry is trying to survive on mostly domestic tourists, which excludes 55 percent to 70 percent of arrivals normally represented by international travelers,” Manente said. “We won’t get it back all at once, but this can be the start of the recovery.”

Gianfranco Lorenzo, the head of the research department for the Center for Touristic Studies, a not-for-profit organization that monitors the sector, agreed.

“The full recovery of the Italian tourism sector is going to take a great deal of time and work and it has to start somewhere,” he said. “This is an important step.”

Potential arrivals are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the reopening.

“Unless there is some dramatic news, I will come back to Italy this year,” Tony Abraham, a self-described “Italy fan” who works as a radio station administrator in Toronto, told Xinhua. “But I want to see how the first couple of weeks go after tourists come back. If it all goes fine, I’ll book my ticket for some time in the fall.”

Kimberly Addonizio-MacQueen, a Vermont-based writer working on a book about Italian cuisine, took some of the same factors into consideration but came to a different conclusion.

“I was looking forward to my first trip to Italy later this year and was still thinking about going after the outbreak got under control in Italy, to take advantage of the tourist-free version of the country,” Addonizio-MacQueen said in an interview.

“But I want to stay for a few weeks to do research and now I don’t even know if the restrictions would let me make the trip,” she said. “My husband and I decided it makes more sense to postpone until 2021 when I hope all the problems will be resolved.”

(XINHUA)

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General news

Sexual violence: Mrs Akeredolu pledges to partner stakeholders

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The wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu, has pledged her readiness to partner with relevant stakeholders to end cases of  sexual violence in the state.


Akeredolu spoke on Tuesday in Akure at a stakeholders meeting on gender-based sexual violence

According to her, an action plan must  aim at addressing the issue of rape in the state holistically.

The governor’s wife, therefore, advised stakeholders to collectively come up with a reasonable action plan that would end the menace.

Mrs Titi Adeyemi, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said the essence of the meeting was to have a follow up forum on the previous meeting with stakeholders on rape and gender based violence.

Adeyemi noted that the spate of rape cases and gender-based violence was becoming alarming.

“It has become so worrisome, especially during the coronavirus period, which concerns every individuals.

“There has been an upsurge on issue of rape and all hands must be on deck to curb it.

” That is the main reason Mrs Akeredolu and relevant authorities have shown great concern at this time.

“We have put a team of experts together, people who have technical knowledge on gender-based violence issues to look for a lasting solution.

“We have a whole range of stakeholders coming together to evolve an action plan to tackle the menace, and I believe that this move is going to assist the state and the society at large,” she said.

Adeyemi said her ministry had concluded plans with the Ministry of Budget to include funds for gender-based violence management in its budget.

She also said that a desk for management of gender based violence cases would be created while government would build the capacity of care givers as well as empower victims.

The commissioner commended the governor’s wife for contributing to the proactive measures put in place to curb the menace in the state.

Mrs Bola Ogundadegbe, the Chairperson of Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in the state, disclosed that the 112 rape incidents recorded since 2017 had been charged to court.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that stakeholders at the meeting included representatives from Ministries of Justice, Education, Health, Women Affairs as well as representatives of non governmental organisations specialising on rape cases.

Others were from National Council of Women Societies, Betty Anyanwu Foundation(BAAF), Nigeria Police Force and NSCDC.

(
Edited By: Muftau Adediran/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Digital economy: Nigeria must shift focus from certificate to skills – Pantami

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The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has advocated for shifting of focus from certificate to skills education for the actualisation of Nigeria’s digital economic drive.


Pantami made the call at the Graduation Lecture of the National Defence Collage Course 28, titled; “Digital Economy and National Development in Nigeria”, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that digital literacy and skills was one of the pillars outlined for the development of the digital economy of Nigeria in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

The minister added that emphasis on certificate must be reduced in engaging labour force, urging that focus should be shifted to skills if the nation must catch up with development.

He said that many developed and developing countries such as China, United States and Morocco had shifted attention to skills rather than certificate, adding that many of them had established skills centres.

According to him, certificate is important but secondary to skill and that is why we must pay attention to skills in our journey to digital economy.

“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.

“We recently provided a platform, the DigitalNigeria.gov.ng platform, to enable Nigerians receive training in diverse digital skills. Over 36,000 Nigerians have enrolled on the platform since the 2nd of April, 2020.

“We are championing a paradigm change that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.

“The National Defence College is an institution that supports the development of skills and there are many digital techniques that can support the great work that you are doing here,’’ he said.

Pantami stated that the digital economy was a prime catalyst for development, adding that in less than one year, government’s modest efforts had already yielded remarkable results.

According to him, the recent first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s total real GDP.

The minister further disclosed that the national security architecture must key into the digital revolution in tackling the prevailing security challenge using digital technology.

He explained that emerging technologies came with different solutions to security challenges of every nation such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotic technology, drone and many more.

“These are some of the emerging technologies that will go a long way in promoting security of nations. The security officials are in better position to look into and see how to customize them and make use of them.”

Also, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, said the Federal Government had taken steps to adopt, adapt and internalise the digital economy in a functional manner.

Magashi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, said it was important that security and defence establishments show more than a cursory interest in the digital economy.

He added that the adaptation of digital economy could result in increased cybercrimes thus undermining national security.

“I wish to commend the Commandant, staff and the entire College community for their collective efforts in pursuing the ideals of the College.

“In particular, I commend you for organising the graduation lecture, which was exciting, educative and would be helpful to the economic and security needs of the Nigerian nation,’’ he said.

Earlier, the Commandant of the collage, Rear Adm. Markson Kadiri, said the lecture had become a key component of the training programme of the College and a major highlight of its annual graduation ceremonies.

Kadiri said that a total of 107 participants had successfully completed the course comprising 67 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, seven Senior Police Officers and 15 participants from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Others according to him, include 18 senior military officers from the Armed Forces of friendly nations.

“A large part of the Course was conducted online, after the general lockdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Course was conducted under the theme “Economic Diversification and National Development in Nigeria”. Economic diversification is a broad based strategy designed to cause positive and multi-sectoral economic growth and development,’’ he said.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Economy

China’s A-share market sees IPO boom in July

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Initial public offerings (IPO) in China’s A-share market continued apace last month over advanced capital market reform, Shanghai Securities News reported Tuesday.


In July, IPOs in the country’s A-share market raised a record amount of 109.81 billion yuan (about 15.73 billion United States dollars), surpassing 100 billion yuan in a single month the first time, said the paper.

A total of 52 firms were listed in July, accounting for 30 per cent of the total number of IPOs in the first seven months of 2020, which stood to 169.

In breakdown, the main board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange attracted 35 listings while the Growth Enterprise Market of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange hosted 43 IPOs from January to July, the paper reported.

Meanwhile, the STAR market, or the sci-tech innovation board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, saw 73 companies listed during the same period.

The stock market posted stronger gains amid the robust IPO activities, the paper reported in July, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, Shenzhen Component Index and ChiNext Index, China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, went up 10.9 per cent, 13.72 per cent and 14.65 per cent, respectively.

Experts say that sufficient liquidity has created conditions for high-quality companies in different industries to raise funds in the A-share market, thus directing funds from the capital market to the real economy.

 

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Ford Motor’s CEO steps down amid waning investors’ confidence

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The Chief Executive Officer of Ford Motor Company, Jim Hackett, is stepping down on Oct. 1 after three years at the helm.


In a statement on Tuesday, the American multinational automaker said Hackett would be succeeded by Jim Farley, its Chief Operating Officer.

According to reports, Hackett’s exit is coming amid the company’s $11 billion (N4 trillion) global restructuring programme said to be floundering.

Reuters reports that the No. 2 United States carmaker also “faces slumping demand in China, its second-largest market’’.

The 65-year-old outgoing CEO failed to secure investors’ confidence in his leadership amid a sharp crash in the value of the company’s stock under his watch.

Under his leadership, Ford has struggled with product launch problems involving the Ford Explorer, the Lincoln Navigator and the Police Interceptor.

But shares of the company rose by 2.8 per cent in early trading, on Tuesday, according to the news agency.

Farley, 58, joined Ford in 2007 and headed the company’s new businesses, technology and strategy group before being named COO in March.

He will be the Ford’s fourth chief executive officer since the 2008 economic crash, reports say.

Edited By: Josephine Obute/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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