Companies in decline, negative trends throughout the territory, historic centers on stand-by but the numbers of Syracuse show a countertrend that intends to react to 2021.
The Covid emergency, which has been underway for a year now, has dramatically affected our business system, affecting, in particular, the tourism and catering sectors that have zeroed their turnover, but also many retail businesses. and the leisure time sector (artistic, sporting and entertainment activities) which have permanently closed the activity. “For 2020, the Confcommercio Research Office, which has been monitoring the economic and social fabric of the country for years, estimates a reduction of over 300 thousand companies non-food trade and services, of which about 240 thousand exclusively due to the pandemic, to which must also be added the loss of about 200 thousand professional activities. Overall, in 2020 they were lost 160 billion euros of GDP, 120 billion of consumption and 10% of hours worked “.
“Between 2012 and 2020 – according to the analysis that examines 110 provincial capitals and 10 other medium-sized cities – there was a change in the commercial fabric within the historic centers that the pandemic will tend to emphasize. For fixed-site trade, the number of basic shops such as foodstuffs (-2.6%) and those which, in addition to satisfying basic needs, perform new functions, such as tobacconists (-2.3 %); Significant are instead the changes linked to changes in consumption, such as technology and communications (+ 18.9%) and pharmacies (+ 19.7%), the latter which have now become places to develop self-care and not only traditional points of supply of medicines. The rest of the product sectors, on the other hand, are rapidly decreasing: these are the traditional goods shops that move to shopping centers or, in any case, outside the historic centers, which record reductions ranging from 17% for clothing to 25.3% % for books and toys, from 27.1% for furniture and hardware up to 33% for petrol stations, generating a real desertification effect of historic centers, impoverishing their commercial and attractive offer. Even e-commerce, which is now worth more than 30 billion, is undergoing changes due to the pandemic: in 2020 it is down by 2.6% compared to 2019 as a result of a boom for goods, including food, equal to +30, 7% and a drop in services purchased (-46.9%) “.
“The pandemic exacerbates these trends and does so with surgical precision: the sectors that have held up or that were growing will continue to grow, those in decline are in danger of disappearing from the historic centers. As for the dynamics concerning street vendors, hotels, bars and restaurants, compared to a process of rationalization of the former (-19.5%), for hotels and public businesses, which in the period recorded respectively + 46.9% and + 10%, the future is very uncertain: in 2021 there will also be the loss of a quarter of accommodation and catering businesses (-24.9%) for the first time in economic history in the last two decades. The not rosy forecast for the 2021 season would mean a difficult slowdown for the city of Syracuse, which has been showing numbers on the rise since 2012, in line with a positive regional trend: only in the historic center of Ortigia, until the last already complex year 2020, was registered + 76% growth for public businesses and hotels; outside the historic center, there is an increase of about 30%, again for the same categories, key elements of development in the province of Arezzo with a strong tourist identity “.
“The positive development experienced so far by the sector can represent a good starting point for fighting the current crisis, – declared the president of Confcommercio Siracusa, Elio Piscitello – hoping for effective collaboration with the public administration. As also underlined in the national Confcommercio study, we need to react to give a different perspective to our cities that represent a heritage to be preserved and enhanced. There are three guidelines: an urban regeneration project, the innovation of small sales areas and a fair and equitable web tax to restore parity of market rules among all companies ”.
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