In praise of hospitality
Service is hospitality, hospitality is style, style is culture, culture is knowledge, knowledge is diversity, diversity is authenticity and simplicity, authenticity is lack of impositions, a lack of impositions is freedom, tourism is freedom.
Here are the rules of hospitality signed by Arrigo.
This book is a manifesto.
An elegant one, as the style of its author, Arrigo Cipriani. But that does not make it any less brave than a manifesto should be.
Cipriani is one of the best-known Italian worldwide. He is not only the Venice Harry’s Bar patron, but an actual ambassador of Italian style hospitality everywhere in the world, with his twenty-seven businesses started over sixty years of work (recently joined with his son Giuseppe) and his more than three thousand collaborators.
The message in this manifesto is clear. Tourism – which in Italy is worth no less than seventy billion euros per year and accounts with its income for almost twelve per cent of the gdp – is hospitality. It is not customers’ exploitation, as we too often do in our country.
«For sixty years, the main activity of my work has been catering», Cipriani says at the beginning of his book. «An activity essentially based on service. I will discuss the tourism-related service intended as offer, and not as exploitation of a third party».
Hospitality is a talent, a virtue, as well as a culture. A talent that we Italians historically possessed to a greater extent than any other country in the world, and which we gradually lost.
This is Arrigo Cipriani’s warning, which stays true to a few basic rules. The first one is putting the customer at the center. It means to treat him more as a guest, than a simple tourist (a word now ambiguous and open to misinterpretation). So, first and foremost, respect and care for the guest coming to our territory.
Put into practical terms, it means to offer a service, whatever the situation or place, which is professional and heartwarming at the same time.
This basic assumption affects the entire Bel Paese, from North to South, and especially Venice, which has been fighting for decades the evils and degenerations of mass tourism and it has eventually reached the final redde rationem.