Tourism leads job growth in the Venice province

Despite the deepening Italian recession, the number of job opportunities is doubling in the province of Venice – mostly thanks to tourism.

Italy has just experienced its third consecutive financial quarter of economic contraction after two consecutive quarters of recession in the second half of 2011. This confirms that Italy has moved beyond recession towards depression with the Italian national news agency, ANSA, reporting the worrying trend:

Recession deepens in Italy with 0.8% GDP drop

Manufacturing is particularly suffering. On 18 May, the Italian national statistics agency, ISTAT, released figures revealing that industrial orders in March 2012 were down 14.3% on March 2011 with industrial turnover down 3.1% comparing the same months.

In the context of industrial decline, it is welcome news that tourism is leading job growth in the province of Venice. During the first 3 months of 2012, 3110 jobs were created in the province of Venice. Yet the forecasts for job hiring between April and June 2012 stand at 7660, according to data from the Chamber of Commerce reported in the newspaper La Nuova Venezia on 16 May 2012:

Posti_lavoro

This article notes that 53% of these new jobs are in the tourism and restaurant sectors with most jobs on offer in the categories of chefs, waiters and similar professions. Indeed, 67.4% of the new job offers are seasonal. Of course, it would be better if permanent or long-term contracts were being created. Nevertheless, we should welcome the contribution of tourism to job growth in the midst of economic depression and focus on how to expand and improve jobs linked to tourism. This is a central theme in my book Venice in Environmental Peril? Myth and Reality, UPA 2012. The book examines how Venice’s industrial areas at Marghera should be transformed, partly to support the growth of tourism.

In contrast, the Venice branch of environmental association Italia Nostra responded on its website to the recent job data by stating: “We have all of Marghera to reconvert but we prefer to create male and female shop assistants for mask and glass shops.” See this article on the website of Italia Nostra (Venice):

Turismo: posti di lavoro poveri e stagionali

Would Italia Nostra prefer more industrial jobs? We need to accept that most of Marghera’s industries are no longer competitive and embrace the expansion of tourism alongside other activities. Moreover, tourism can help compensate for industrial downturn in the region. “These data confirm the strong vocation of tourism in the province,” observed Roberto Crosta, Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, in the La Nuova Venezia article listed above. “Venice and its surrounding coastal areas represent a key to revival for the whole economic system of the province,” added Crosta.

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