- Data and technology to be used to improve understanding of international tourism market
- €2 billion to finance the development of tourism-related businesses
- New insurance instruments to protect businesses
- Training programs to strengthen knowledge and skills in the tourism industry
UniCredit launched a program to help revitalize Italy's tourism industry by offering innovative support for the development and improvement of the services provided to visitors.
The UniCredit 4 Tourism program, a new line of banking products and loans for businesses involved in tourism, targets Italy's untapped potential, said UniCredit CEO Federico Ghizzoni at the Group's headquarters during a launch attended by Italy's Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism Dario Franceschini, Alpitour Group CEO Gabriele Burgio, Best Western Italy CEO Giovanna Manzi, and Travel Appeal CEO Mirko Lalli.
"We have a brand that is unequalled in the world and heritage with infinite potential. It is up to us Italians to make visiting our country more attractive. With UniCredit 4 Tourism, our Group pledges to provide structured and complete support for Italy's tourism operators so they can improve their hospitality," Mr. Ghizzoni said.
International tourism generated €165 billion for Italy's economy in 2013, representing roughly 10 percent of the country's GDP. Tourism provides jobs directly to over one million Italians and indirectly to roughly 2.6 million. However, considering the exceptional historic, artistic, cultural and natural attractions to be found in the country, those figures can be greatly increased, Mr. Ghizzoni said.
"Tourism - added Federico Ghizzoni, CEO of UniCredit - represents 8% of the overall exports from Italy, third after Textiles/Clothing and Transport. In terms of international arrivals, Italy is only fifth in the world, with visitor numbers that are approximately half of France's, behind Spain's, and facing growing competition from Turkey. When we consider that Italy is the world leader in the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, we can see there is a wide margin for improvement".
Outlining the details of UniCredit 4 Tourism, Gabriele Piccini, UniCredit's Country Chairman for Italy, said the new program aimed to help modernize Italy's image and ensure the development of high-quality services for tourists, opening up more opportunities for the country's economic growth. "UniCredit - stated Gabriele Piccini - has been involved for some time in specially designed initiatives supporting sectors such as Fashion, Cinema, Food and Wine, and Made-in-Italy products more generally, and has already developed numerous projects in the tourism industry. Today we support over 45,000 companies in this sector, with total loans of around € 4 billion".
UniCredit 4 Tourism focuses on four key pillars of the industry: technology, financing, insurance and skills.
First, in terms of technology, it provides companies access to data analytics from Travel Appeal - a start-up funded by H-Farm Ventures that was recently part of the UniCredit Start Lab. The technology enables operators to use big data to analyze their markets, better manage their reputations and define effective strategies to improve their businesses.
Second, through UniCredit 4 Tourism the Group will make €2 billion in new financing available to Italian tourism businesses by 2018, allotting more than 75 percent of those funds to companies with annual turnover of less than €5 million, in the knowledge that the industry is predominantly composed of small enterprises.
Third, UniCredit will respond to the insurance needs of companies, offering tailored products in cooperation with strong and already familiar insurance industry partners.
Finally, UniCredit 4 Tourism will support the development of tourism operators' financial, marketing and digital skills by organizing "Tourism Days," training sessions that will be held from June to December in Costa Smeralda, Treviso, Lecce, Catania and Florence.
Milan, April 20, 2015