Italy keeps on sinking in the ranking of countries where investments are still appealing. That’s the result of the 2009 World Bank report “Doing Business”: Italy is given the unflattering position number 65, deterioration compared to the already humiliating 59th position of last year. There above, besides, of course, the United States, Singapore, Switzerland, all Europe and OECD area bloc, even Namibia, Mexico, Peru, Jamaica, Colombia, Botswana, and Samoa come first. How is it possible?
The World Bank explains, in its report, that a large number of countries, following the example of China (fourth in the ranking), is forcefully pursuing a long-awaited develop, doing everything possible to attract foreign investments.

Then there is the central Europe ex-communist bloc which has discovered free market benefits and which endeavors to adopt a private entrepreneurial fabric (network).
But the response is even more embarrassing, if we take a look at each single parameter that comprises the attractiveness of a country and from which the Bank has obtained a weighted average ranking. Italy drops to the 83rd position under the heading "building permits". The Bank analyzes timing and procedures for obtaining licenses, registration building, connection to utilities, various inspections. Result: to build a shed with two floors, it takes on average 257 days, in Spain 86 and Britain 54.

The rigidity of the labor market (and also the fact that, according to the Bank, to dismiss a worker would cost an average of 11 weeks' pay compared to 2 of the United States) relegates Italy to the 75th position in the "employing workers” section. In free fall the entry access to credit, where Italy drops from number 79 to number 84. Even closing down a company, registering trademarks and patents has become more difficult compared to 2008. No difference, but a worrying unchanged position 128 in the world ranking, under the entry "taxes".
So why should foreign enterprises and private people invest in Italy? Simply because Italy still is the sixth economical power in the world as well as the “made in Italy” brand still is successful and universally recognized. Investments opportunities in Italy are many, although they are changing and many industries are repositioning themselves in a dynamic market. Actually, two areas for investments in Italy have undergone very little change, becoming, recently, more attractive and better organized; these are the market for real estate and the market for tourism and hospitality services.
In Italy, investments in real estate continue to be one of the main features of financial activity. The value of real estate in Italy has given great satisfaction to investors as a result of the steady and often rapid increase in values.
Investing in real estate is relatively simple, although it is advisable to consider few factors, such as: location, potential for resale or for commercial use, once renovated, credit facilities or access to public funds for renovation. Besides, there are lots of properties for sale in Italy that are located in beautiful rural areas or in small hill towns (for example in Tuscany, Umbria and Puglia) that have been abandoned by the local residents who have moved to larger urban areas. These abandoned properties are often sold at very modest prices, and with renovation can greatly increase their values. Throughout most of Italy, local administrations are awakening to the benefits of improving the attractiveness of their areas to encourage tourism and the expansion of local commercial and hospitality sectors. 
Not only, but purchasing properties which can be converted into “agri-tourism” facilities has become, lately, one of the most successful business for foreign investors. This is due to a deeper and and more accurate knowledge of Italian country and its culture. It’s sufficient to count the number of foreign tourists which every year visits Italy to realize that it has become a primary tourist destination. And what strikes (impresses) from a recent survey is the fact that, while many tourists continue to visit the most famous cities, such as Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, there is a considerable increasing number of visitors which have become experts in lesser known itineraries.
At last, it is important to mention that investments in the food sector (restaurants, pizzeria) are still very profitable, as well as in the new sector of alternative energies (photovoltaic system, wind power, biomass power), in which investors can often benefit from public grants.

Published by Stefano Valente