(eTN) – Italians used to travel abroad for this special holiday at the beginning of December, doing a “ponte” bridge from December 6-8. One of their favorite trips was to go to Germany, Austria, or Switzerland for the traditional Christmas markets. But this year, 88.3% of Italians will stay at home.
According to the latest survey of Federalberghi (Italian Federation of Hotels, in Rome), only 4 million will travel this year (5.4 million traveled in 2009), which is 26% less. The estimated turnover currency will be 911 millions euros, instead of 1.2 billion euros in 2009.
For Bernabo Bocca, President of Federalberghi-Confturismo, it is an alarming sign, especially for the upcoming holiday season, he said.
Italians loved to go for a short December holiday to Germany, visiting the Christkindl Market (Christmas markets) in towns like Nürnberg, Munich, and now more popular than ever, Berlin.
While DZT – Deutsche Zentrale Tourismus – the German Tourism Office promoted the Christkindl Market all over the world – Italians traveling to Germany mostly between December 26-31, learned that the famous Christmas markets were gone. Santa Claus (Weihnachtmann) was dismantled and left in a great hurry – mostly between December 23-34 – carrying away the Christmas decorations and Christmas trees. But that is the time when the Mediterraneans normally travel – with the Christmas atmosphere lasting until January 6, just like how long the Three Kings stayed, and just as they do in Italy, Spain, France, etc.
Now things have changed rapidly. It is trendy to travel to Italy to see stunning Christmas markets and Christmas lighting. And this year, Milan beats it all, with the lightening of over 100,000 electric candles on the most expensive Christmas tree in Europe, which cost Tiffany over 350,000 euros and will illuminate Milan’s Piazza Duomo.
From New York, the President of Tiffany arrived along with 15 persons from top management for the lighting of the Christmas tree and opening of a Tiffany Shop underneath the tree.
But there is a special tax to pay for the Tiffany tree installment. Ever since March, Mrs. Letzia Moratti, Mayor of City of Milan, had been negotiating with Tiffany for a percentage of sales from its temporary jewelry shop to be set aside for charity.
After tough negotiations and endless telephone conferences up until the very last minute, Mrs. Moratti succeeded in raising the original 2% of entire sales offered by Tiffany up to 9%. The money will go to Lega Italiana alla lotta ai Tumori (the Italian league against tumors) of Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo.
But there is more – Milano sotto la Luce – in which Milan will be lit by over 60 LED light design projects, as part of the International Festival of Lights from December 4 to January 10, adding a specatcular and colorful touch by illuminating streets and squares like San Babila, Piazza Cavour, and all the famous sights of Milan.