August has always been considered the decisive month for the Aeolian economy. Because you are aware that in these weeks local tour operators can collect the “provisions” to enjoy a peaceful winter, even working 20 hours a day out of 24. At least it has always been like this. And this year we hope it will be even more so. Also because last July did not go according to forecasts and making ends meet in the islands of the archipelago is anything but easy. «Non the Aeolian Islands tourism is in crisis». And this phrase does not emerge from analyzes by research institutes, which however confirmed the drop in attendance with the (still few) data available, but from the mouth of Don Bartolo, the fisherman who has been enjoying himself in the summer for almost 40 years , but we also say “rounds off” by bringing tourists to discover the most beautiful coves of Vulcano.
We always meet him in the same place, his wrinkles marked by the warm Aeolian sun, his usual resistance to talking, let alone having his picture taken. But then, we compromise, and we manage to snatch a few words. «Do you want to know how the season is going – she answers us with her Italian mixed with liparoto: « Not good. I’m not saying badly because San Bartolo is celebrated in August and the tourists will arrive in the next twenty days. But it is no longer the tourism it once was. Until ten years ago it was necessary to book the excursion and pay what I asked to get them on the boat. Today the price is set by people: we are forced to negotiate. But as long as I enjoy it I will. Also because living on a pension of 600 euros a month isn’t easy. Not even here.” Bartolo doesn’t do business, but those who have decided to invest in the islands are now in real difficulty.
And that the situation is not rosy is also confirmed by the president of Federalberghi, Cristian Del Bono. «Obviously the analyzes must be made on official data, but in relation to Lipari I register a general drop of between 10 and 20 per cent referring not so much to the hotel structures, but to the movement in general which also concerns the other tourism sectors (catering, services).
Read the complete article in the paper edition of Gazzetta del Sud – Messina