Italy's culture has yielded 5.4% of the total wealth produced - equivalent to almost 76 billion euros while providing jobs for 1.4 million people representing 5.6% of total employment in the country.
This are some of the facts that emerge from the 2012 report on the culture in Italy. Titled "Italy To Come" it was created by Symbola and the Unioncamere foundations for presentation Friday in Treia, in Macerata province. Release of the report opens the first day of a summer seminar of the foundation. The report notes that it's important to look at the organizations that are directly involved in culture: for example, creative industries, heritage, historical, artistic and architectural sectors, as well as the performing arts and visual arts.
The whole "cultural industry" adds value that reaches 15% of the total national economy and employs a 4.5 million persons - 18.1% of Italy's total employment. Yet cultural programs are often sacrificed on the altar of reducing public debt, despite the fact that culture clearly "feeds" Italy in so many ways - feeding the spirit as well as creating employment.
The results of the study, the first to quantify the importance of culture in the national economy, helps to "refute those who describe it as a non-strategic sector," explains Symbola and Unioncamere.
"(This report) instead frames it as a factor in recovery for much of the Italian economy, one of the levers to give oxygen to a country sorely tested by the ongoing crisis." In the four years 2007-2011, the growth of nominal value added to the economy from the cultural sector was 0.9% per cent year, more than double growth in the Italian economy, which was 0.4% .
Despite stubbornly high unemployment, job creation in Italy's cultural sector grew by 0.8% per annum -- better than the decline of 0.4% per annum in overall employment. As well, the trade balance of the cultural production system has been in surplus in 2011 for a total 20.3 billion euros, which has allowed the cultural sector to contribute to recovery, albeit limited, of the GDP between 2010 and the first part of 2011.
Export of Italian culture is over 38 billion euros and represents 10% of total national exports. Cultural imports amounted to 17.8 billion euros and constitutes 4.4% of the total. Also interesting is the attractiveness of culture to the tourism industry, amounting to 33.6% of total tourism spending in the country, 23.3 billion euros.
The report from Unioncamere and Symbola was developed under the supervision of Pierluigi Sacco and involved over 20 experts identifying the experiences and emerging trends of each sector. According Ermete Realacci, president of Symbola, "Italy has to do Italy. We must face the crisis, without leaving anyone behind, but restoring the economy. "The culture and intangible infrastructure is part of this vital challenge." The president of Unioncamere Ferruccio Dardanello foresees "a new development model in which growing interest in the strategic value of culture and creativity are decisive factors for a new policy innovation, of quality, welfare and sustainability."