On January 12th, the Study Office of Confartigianato Imprese published a report on the prospects and critical points for Italian companies in 2023 at the regional level, which places Abruzzo among the nine Italian regions for which a GDP growth rate higher than pre-pandemic levels is expected.


In particular, Abruzzo ranks sixth with a predicted growth of 1.9%, despite the difficulties experienced by the automotive sector, which traditionally drives the region, and the supply chain tensions that continued to cause production slowdowns throughout last year.


This data appears even more significant when considering recent Svimez estimates, which predict a very modest national GDP growth rate of just 0.5% for 2023 after Italy's 3.8% GDP growth in 2022, largely contributed by the Center-North region.


Therefore, the predictions show the high responsiveness and good resilience of the Abruzzo economy, despite negative factors such as the aftermath of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the international energy crisis, which can still represent a significant obstacle to economic growth due to the increase in consumer and energy prices, which are higher in Abruzzo than the national average, with an increase of 142.4%.


Positive expectations, following the results achieved in 2022, are for exports, particularly in the chemical-pharmaceutical, rubber, metallurgy, and agri-food sectors. In the agri-food sector, which accounts for 8.8% of Abruzzo's total exports, the wine sector stands out, which recorded a new ten-percentage-point increase in exports compared to 2021.


Encouraging data also comes from the tourism sector, as in 2022, Abruzzo's airport set a new record for the number of passengers, reaching 715,690, surpassing the previous record set in 2019, the year of the airport's greatest expansion. This historic achievement indicates how Abruzzo is increasingly emerging as an attractive tourist destination, thanks to the numerous regional investments in infrastructure, and represents a starting point in order to further position Abruzzo as a place of international tourism, as well as for congresses, and commercial meetings in Central Italy.


Important maintenance, restoration, and enhancement interventions of Abruzzo’s artistic and cultural heritage have been made possible by over 50 million euros allocated within The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), which will also be functional for tourism promotion.


Furthermore, interventions worth around 10 million euros are planned for 2023 to strengthen, modernize, and improve the efficiency of the airport, including the extension of the runway for intercontinental flights. This investment appears fundamental in what is expected to be a year of recovery for international air traffic, with a definitive end to the pandemic in sight.


In this sense, it is undoubtedly worth mentioning the international reopening of China, which, starting from January 8th, allowing foreign travelers to enter China without having to face a mandatory quarantine period, thus removing restrictions on international tourism for Chinese citizens.


The reopening of China will of course have a positive impact on its economy, which was severely tested in 2022 by the stringent implementation of the zero-Covid policy, considered among one of the main factors of the modest GDP growth figures.


Edited by: Att. Carlo D’Andrea, Vice President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and Managing Partner of the D’Andrea & Partners Legal Counsel, with offices in Shanghai and Pescara.