by Aldo Mazzocco, President of Assoimmobiliare
“The tourism sector in a country like Italy is strategic by its very nature (its land, artistic and environmental heritage and its population). It therefore goes without saying that the hospitality component of its real estate is just as strategic, a fundamental element required to support and make its tourist business competitive. Italy is entering the era of globalisation and the euro with a heritage of infrastructure and practices that are not always suited to this new context, with an unprecedented wealth of potential clients but also characterised by unlimited competition and the need to achieve hitherto unknown economies of scale and levels of efficiency. While making it easier to access our market, the single European currency also undermines two fundamental levers from a structural point of view: competitiveness linked to a weak currency which used to depreciate with mathematical accuracy and the obvious profitability of any investment in hotel real estate (and not only) given the profit ensured by total return (Yield + inflation). This set of factors means that an evolution in hospitality real estate infrastructures is urgent and need not necessarily follow the example of other countries. Extremely fragmented ownership, the all too often single-family size of hotel companies and the shortcomings of a network linking services require a tailor-made model that enables family businesses to modernise their hotels (through the combined action of tax incentives/urban planning simplification and support for credit), at the same time opening the market up to more competitive international chains, above all in the medium/low bracket. It is time to look not just at the luxury hotels that have written the history of our market, but to open up in a convinced manner to the new European formats that are enjoying such huge success, even in a country like Germany that started out in a situation more or less similar to our own. We must avoid a contrasting lobby situation between family-run hotels and international chains; a clear differentiation in services offered must be encouraged and facilitated that preserves the value of Italian tradition (especially in Alto Adige) without ignoring international trends. Mainly because the evolution in IT allows for radical rethinking of the single-family hotel system. In the same way as the rest of Italian real estate stock, however, it requires heavy investment into refurbishment and as a consequence channels for the flow of international capital must be opened, offering standard conditions and a level of risk comparable with our European competitors, France in the lead. These guidelines and these efforts to open our market up to foreign institutional investors are the core of the Assoimmobiliare programme”.
( taken from SEE ITALY N° 1, 2016. ( Official Magazine of Confindustria Alberghi )
Paola G. Lunghini