Born in 1972 in Bussolengo and married with two children, after receiving his high school degree as an agricultural engineer, with a specialisation in wine making, Maurizio Fugatti received his undergraduate degree in Political Sciences from the Università degli Studi di Bologna. He is currently a member of the Association of Professional Accountants and Internal Auditors.
In 2005, he became secretary of the Trentino area’s Lega Nord and city councillor of Avio, where he began his political carrier. Elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2006, he was an Honourable Member during the 15th and 16th administrations until 2013 as the Deputy Head of the Chamber of Deputies and Head of the Financial Commission. Re-elected during the 18th administration, he took on the role of Undersecretary of State for Health from 13 June 2018 during the Conte Administration, until he was elected as the President of the Autonomous Province of Trento in October 2018. Today, he has agreed to an exclusive interview with Fotoshoe, so we can learn how the Province of Trento plans to start back up again.
– What challenges is the Trentino commerce and artisanship sector facing at the end of this acute phase of the Coronavirus emergency? What actions has the Autonomous Province of Trento taken to support them?
First of all, this past 10 May, Decree no. 3 was approved, with a series of measures meant to support families, workers, and economic sectors. We dedicated resources for a total of 150 million euros, which were joined by the refinancing of the Protocol signed with the banking system in guaranteeing access to credit, with an additional 250 million euros added to the already existing 250 million. There was then the suspension of the payment of the IMIS real estate tax and other local taxes, equal to 175 million. Altogether, the Province has put together a total of 825 million to help businesses make it through this especially difficult moment. On the 11th of June, financial subsidiaries were also granted to financial operators requesting them – we are speaking of SMEs with up to 11 employees – which suffered great losses during the Covid-19 pandemic. The funds set aside are around 90 million euros for the year 2020, to the advantage of 27,000 financial operators potentially interes
ted, with further help provided to those who had to make rental property or lease payments. However, supporting the commerce and artisanship industry does not mean only providing financial help. It is just as important to place trust in those who are reopening, create the right conditions so they can do so safely, and support the efforts of local organisational bodies and the initiatives of trade associations, while promoting the return of tourism. In other words, we must work towards a “complete” reopening, which combines health, safety, and work, while satisfying the needs of citizens.
– Trentino, with its cities of art, mountains, and Alto Garda, lives and breathes tourism. In the current climate of uncertainty, what measures of support is the Province adopting to attract tourists and ensure there is a summer season?
It is essential to have clear safety protocols for all relative sectors and promote a new culture of hospitality among operators, who are called upon to give clientele solutions different from the past, especially in terms of safety and cleaning. We are working in both directions, while with Trentino Marketing, initiatives for promoting the summer season have begun. We are also working on changing the perception some countries, which are really important to us, like Austria, had about Italy and also Trentino in this phase. The situation is gradually returning to a sense of “normality”, in accordance with the need, which we must always keep in mind, to never let our guard down, so we can avoid facing a return of the virus in the future.
– In the mid to long-term range, what are the specific measures being taking with regards to Alto Garda in particular?
For this territory, we are once again looking to the reforms for the tourist industry. It is a challenge that revolves around coaching, or rather accompanying sector operators, so that no one is left behind in making the changes that must be implemented. In this regard, APT has a series of new responsibilities. With the reform, four new territorial areas are also created: one of them is the Garda Trentino Area. Every area is matched with a Territorial Agency, which is responsible for conceiving and constructing tourist products set in the respective area. The aim of the reform is to overcome a limited vision that is stilly partially rooted within its own territorial confines and bring it closer to the vision of the tourist, who loves the entire Trentino area; for Garda, in particular, just consider the synergies between the lake and the nearby Dolomite mountains, or between outdoor tourism, sports, lakeside activities, and cultural tourism, while not forgetting the castles of Vallaga
rina in Mart. Finally, there is a new tool in support of the industry, the Trentino guest digital platform, which once again puts the tourist in a central place of importance.
– With the trade fair-conference sector almost ready to start back up, with Riva del Garda Fierecongressi as its point of excellence, what actions will the Province take to prepare for the reopening of this activity?
Riva del Garda is one of the jewels of Trentino tourism, a tourism that speaks to lovers of the environment, of active vacations, sailing, and excellent cuisine. However, the trade fair industry most decidedly represents further added value. Riva del Garda Fierecongressi is one of the main windows onto Italian taste and fashion that we find right after the Brenner Pass, and at the same time, it is a hub open to the rest of the world. We believe in it and would like to do everything possible, so that it can once again return to full operational levels. We will not deny that the trade fair and conference sector is one of the most delicate industries in Phase 2 of the pandemic. The first duty we have is that of listening to our APSS health authority and in general to the guidelines set down by experts. We are committed to ensuring it is possible to start back up again sooner rather than later and on the right foot, and we are sure that with the right precautions this will be possible.
– The restart also represents an opportunity for rethinking old models and confirming new ones more focused on digitalisation and sustainability: what examples of this kind are emerging in your territory?
The digital channel was the protagonist of Phase 1, also in the public administration. On the other hand, in the sectors of commerce and tourism, new technologies have already been present for some time now. We believe that this situation can offer the opportunity to go down new roads, for example, with regards to commerce, reinforcing the online sale of Trentino products, even with a dedicated platform. For tourism, we already said that the decree will set into motion a series of new measures, but I must also add that in addition to making new tools available, we must also insist on professional training. Digital marketing is an increasingly sophisticated tool and we must use it in the best way.
During these months of difficulty, what did you like about your Province and what struck you in a positive way?
During these months, I was impressed by the maturity of Trentino locals. In general, everyone understood the gravity of the situation and acted accordingly. Sometimes, I had to remind the population to follow the rules, because this was another responsibility with which institutions were charged during this unusual and dramatic time, also at the cost of making ourselves unpopular. However, I must repeat, the truth is that in most cases, Trentino habitants were reasonable, cooperative, and willing to make sacrifices. Now, however, we must put the same effort into starting back up once again. Trentino, thanks also to its Autonomy, has all the “numbers” needed to do so.