As is well known, Italy unites regions characterized by a profound economic gap, which over 150 years of national unity has failed to reduce. During this century and a half, there was only one period in which the income of the southern regions increased towards the national average, that of the economic miracle of the 1950s and 1960s (Felice 2013; Cao-Pinna 1979; Battilani and Fauri 2014). This was the time of the Cassa del Mezzogiorno (Casmez), one of the most innovative and extensive development projects for underdeveloped areas ever undertaken in Europe. Partly financed by the European Investment Bank, the Fund for the South, for 34 years, carried out a complex incentive plan for private entrepreneurship and investment in infrastructure aimed at the modernization of southern Italy and the narrowing of the gap between north and south (Strangio 2011, pp. 61–78; Lepore 2012). In fact, in Italy, as in France and the United Kingdom, tourism took root in regions with a good degree of economic development, even in locations on the margins of the industrialization process (Battilani 2009). This is because the tourism products that established themselves in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (spa, sea and mountain) required landscapes untouched by the physical infrastructure of industrialization, such as smoking chimneys, precisely because the demand for tourism originated primarily in large industrialized urban centers. Therefore, it is not surprising that already in 1933 the map of the tourist presence in Italy mirrored that of the distribution of wealth in the country: the tourist flows were directed towards the northern regions such as Liguria, Emilia Romagna and Veneto (bathing), Trentino (mountains) and Lombardy (with its own historical specialization in business tourism). In 1933, 62% of tourists went to the north (ENIT 1935). The central regions, thanks to the multifaceted attractiveness of Tuscany (including Florence and the coast around Viareggio) and Rome, accounted for a further 26% of visitors. In the south, it was the islands that tourists found most appealing, especially Taormina, Capri and Ischia (Berrino 2011). In fact, the only two southern regions to attract a relatively substantial share of tourists were Campania (4%) and Sicily (5%), while Sardinia (1%) and Puglia (1%) remained practically unknown (see Table 7.1). For the post-World War II period, the earliest reliable data on hotel stays dates to the early 1950s. The picture that surveys paint of 1955 is fairly predictable: there were four million more tourist nights than in 1933, of which the north took a 59% share, as against 62% twenty years previously. The numbers going to the central regions were static, while the south increased its share from 11% to 16% (ISTAT 1955). Basically, between the investment of the 1930s, the destruction of war, reconstruction and the start of a new phase of growth, Campania and Sicily had managed to increase their market share by 3%. The rate of convergence decreased and the north–south gap widened. In the south, the main centers of attraction were in the area of Naples (including the islands) in Campania, and Taormina in Sicily. This is the context in which the Casmez began its work on modernizing agriculture and promoting industrialization. Under the remit of this huge scheme, tourism was assigned only a marginal role. This is understandable in the sense that it was poorly developed in the south, and neither scholars nor politicians considered it a potential driver of large-scale growth. The first great surge of tourism occurred between 1955 and 1965, hotel nights doubling to 98 million. At this point, the northern regions were extraordinarily competitive, with Emilia Romagna and Veneto alone taking 29% of all tourists. The southern market share stabilized at around 14%, confirming the marginal position it had occupied in the 1930s. The Campania region was the south’s most successful destination, attracting 6% of the market. In summary, in the 1950s and 1960s, as the GDP divide between north and south decreased, the gap in the share of the tourism sector widened. Overnight stays in the south were lagging behind. While Campania (around 6%), Puglia (2%) and Sardinia (1%) maintained their positions, Sicily’s market share collapsed from 6% to 3%. Calabria, however, as an emerging tourist destination, grew its share from practically nothing to rival Puglia at 2%. In this context, it is particularly important to understand why Casmez interventions in the south did not prompt a flood of tourism and a convergence with the north in a manner similar to that which occurred in the manufacturing sector.

Tourism as a Tool for Territorial Cohesion: The Cassa per il Mezzogiorno in Italy During the 1950s

Patrizia Battilani;
2020

Abstract

As is well known, Italy unites regions characterized by a profound economic gap, which over 150 years of national unity has failed to reduce. During this century and a half, there was only one period in which the income of the southern regions increased towards the national average, that of the economic miracle of the 1950s and 1960s (Felice 2013; Cao-Pinna 1979; Battilani and Fauri 2014). This was the time of the Cassa del Mezzogiorno (Casmez), one of the most innovative and extensive development projects for underdeveloped areas ever undertaken in Europe. Partly financed by the European Investment Bank, the Fund for the South, for 34 years, carried out a complex incentive plan for private entrepreneurship and investment in infrastructure aimed at the modernization of southern Italy and the narrowing of the gap between north and south (Strangio 2011, pp. 61–78; Lepore 2012). In fact, in Italy, as in France and the United Kingdom, tourism took root in regions with a good degree of economic development, even in locations on the margins of the industrialization process (Battilani 2009). This is because the tourism products that established themselves in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (spa, sea and mountain) required landscapes untouched by the physical infrastructure of industrialization, such as smoking chimneys, precisely because the demand for tourism originated primarily in large industrialized urban centers. Therefore, it is not surprising that already in 1933 the map of the tourist presence in Italy mirrored that of the distribution of wealth in the country: the tourist flows were directed towards the northern regions such as Liguria, Emilia Romagna and Veneto (bathing), Trentino (mountains) and Lombardy (with its own historical specialization in business tourism). In 1933, 62% of tourists went to the north (ENIT 1935). The central regions, thanks to the multifaceted attractiveness of Tuscany (including Florence and the coast around Viareggio) and Rome, accounted for a further 26% of visitors. In the south, it was the islands that tourists found most appealing, especially Taormina, Capri and Ischia (Berrino 2011). In fact, the only two southern regions to attract a relatively substantial share of tourists were Campania (4%) and Sicily (5%), while Sardinia (1%) and Puglia (1%) remained practically unknown (see Table 7.1). For the post-World War II period, the earliest reliable data on hotel stays dates to the early 1950s. The picture that surveys paint of 1955 is fairly predictable: there were four million more tourist nights than in 1933, of which the north took a 59% share, as against 62% twenty years previously. The numbers going to the central regions were static, while the south increased its share from 11% to 16% (ISTAT 1955). Basically, between the investment of the 1930s, the destruction of war, reconstruction and the start of a new phase of growth, Campania and Sicily had managed to increase their market share by 3%. The rate of convergence decreased and the north–south gap widened. In the south, the main centers of attraction were in the area of Naples (including the islands) in Campania, and Taormina in Sicily. This is the context in which the Casmez began its work on modernizing agriculture and promoting industrialization. Under the remit of this huge scheme, tourism was assigned only a marginal role. This is understandable in the sense that it was poorly developed in the south, and neither scholars nor politicians considered it a potential driver of large-scale growth. The first great surge of tourism occurred between 1955 and 1965, hotel nights doubling to 98 million. At this point, the northern regions were extraordinarily competitive, with Emilia Romagna and Veneto alone taking 29% of all tourists. The southern market share stabilized at around 14%, confirming the marginal position it had occupied in the 1930s. The Campania region was the south’s most successful destination, attracting 6% of the market. In summary, in the 1950s and 1960s, as the GDP divide between north and south decreased, the gap in the share of the tourism sector widened. Overnight stays in the south were lagging behind. While Campania (around 6%), Puglia (2%) and Sardinia (1%) maintained their positions, Sicily’s market share collapsed from 6% to 3%. Calabria, however, as an emerging tourist destination, grew its share from practically nothing to rival Puglia at 2%. In this context, it is particularly important to understand why Casmez interventions in the south did not prompt a flood of tourism and a convergence with the north in a manner similar to that which occurred in the manufacturing sector.
Inter and Post-war Tourism in Western Europe, 1916-1960
159
176
Patrizia Battilani; Donatella Strangio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/842784
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