Foreigners return to choose Italy for their holidays. Will it be enough to save the winter season?

 Foreigners return to choose Italy for their holidays.  Will it be enough to save the winter season?

LItaly is one of the favorite destinations for foreign tourists in Europe, especially overseas, with 75% of Americans and even 88% of Brazilians indicating it as the destination chosen among those of the old continent. According to a survey carried out by‘Institute Piepoli for Confturismo.

And it is also chosen for congress tourism: in the Top 20 Destination Performance Index of the Icca (International Congress and Convention Association), Italy ranks fifth for meetings worldwide.

But will this be enough to deal with the energy crisis which is putting the hotel and restaurant sector in difficulty?

Who are the European tourists most likely to visit Italy?

Among Europeans, the French (74%) are the most likely to travel to Italy, followed by the Germans (70%) and the British (65%). Foreigners who choose our country in principle, they define it as interesting, welcoming and safe.

Favorite destinations of today and tomorrow

Major art cities attract attention: Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa but also Milan, Naples and tourist destinations such as Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, Lake Garda. Among those who have not chosen us as their destination, despite planning a trip to Europe, the reasons for not choosing are determined by the fact that they think they will come to Italy in the future, have already been in our country in the past or consider us as an expensive destination. , in particular the target of young people (18-34 years old).

The characteristics for which Italy is chosen

Strengths indicated by those who are already been in Italy for the past five years, I’m gastronomy, culture and hospitalitythis Nevertheless it is also perceived, along with the cost of travel and cultural attractions, as a negative aspect. Among the elements to be improved there are also infrastructures and cleaning.

How far did foreigners travel in 2022?

Foreigners made fewer trips than in 2019: in particular Brazilians -38%, Germans -31%, British -27% and French -22%. The impact for Americans is less severe which are at -19%. The United States is therefore the intercontinental market that is driving the recovery the most.

How foreigners choose their travel destination

The most important aspects that make the choice of travel destination, both in Europe and in other continents, are in the first place for all international tourists the value for money, then the interest in culture, comfort and ease of access to destination. For the Germans and the French, interest in the landscape also plays an important role. THE food and wine tours affect a smaller share of the sample (between 15 and 23% depending on the country), especially for the French: only 7% declare this as a motivation for international travel, probably due to the country’s strong food and wine culture.

Some potential issues

Among the negative aspects, there are some data from the Piepoli study on which to reflect: whether the linguistic community, in addition to the search for their own roots, can justify the 25% of Americans who declare that they will soon visit the United Kingdom instead of Italy, it must make think of 80% of Brazilians who they will go to Portugal citing, as the main reason, that it is the European country that is the easiest to reach with connections. And more significantly still, the 42% of Britons who “wink” at Spain, a presumed indication of a market in which the presence of Italian supply could now be strengthened, devoting itself to certain segments probably not evaluated in their real potential, starting with Silver Age tourism.

The French love Italy: it is the second favorite destination

“The French market is the third largest in Europe in terms of origin of flow volumes and spending by international tourists. Italy is the second destination country (after Spain). These are important dimensions for Italy given that still according to the elaborations of the Enit research department on data from the Bank of Italy – France was the third geographic market before Covid for the weight of foreign tourist spending in Italy , after Germany and the United States. According to the latest available data (2021), in this Covid recovery phase, 13% of the total spent by foreign tourists in Italy (21.3 billion euros) comes from France. This makes France the second largest foreign market (after Germany), pending the full resumption of tourist flows from the United States.. Based on the same data, the design office calculates that, on average, the duration of the trip is 6 nights for an expenditure of 108 euros per night. The French in Italy favor stays by the sea (18.6% of total expenditure) and visit art cities (16.7%)” – he says Roberta Garibaldi in Enit.

International tourist arrivals almost tripled

According to the latest data published by the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, disseminated by GTT 2022in the first seven months of 2022, international tourist arrivals almost tripled (+172%) compared to the same period in 2021. This means that the sector has recovered almost 60% of its pre-pandemic levels . Steady recovery reflects strong pent-up demand for international travelas well as the relaxation or removal of travel restrictions until today (86 countries had no Covid-19 related restrictions as of September 19, 2022).

Still not in line with 2019

The trend detected at international level by the WTO is also reflected on the national territory: analyzing the data relating to the presence of customers in Italian hotels in the first half of this year, the growth in attendance is immediately apparent after the serious decline in 2020 and 2021, mainly due to pandemic closures. However, this is a partial recovery, mainly determined by an increase in Italian customers (+ 7.1%), while on the front of arrivals from abroad we still note a drop of 10.4% . Overall, the 2022 figure is therefore 2.7% below 2019 levels: indeed, while the arrivals of foreigners in the first half of the year more than tripled compared to 2021, they remained 36% lower than those of 2019.

Data for summer 2022

For summer 2022, preliminary figures show +16.6% arrivals and +14.3% overnight stays; a result considered quite satisfactory given the situation of uncertainty caused by the military crisis in Ukraine and the general increase in prices, which reduced the purchasing power of many tourists. Especially with regard to foreign tourists, there was an increase of 25.7% (although the same figure is still 28.3% lower than in 2019).

Sardinia, Sicily, Campania and Liguria, the best performances

It was mainly Germans, French, Dutch, Swiss, Austrians, British, Belgians, Americans, Spaniards and Scandinavians who chose Italy this summer, while the regions that posted the best performances were Sardinia, Sicily, Campania and Liguria; for the others, the data is still far from that of 2019. As for the choice of resorts, even in the summer of 2022 there is a predominance of resorts, with a strong recovery in hotel bookings, particularly in August (+71.2%) followed by mountain bookings (+61.9%). In recovery, after the brutal slowdown of 2002 2021, also the cities of art, in particular in the months of July and August. (+ 34% of hotel reservations).

Italy is also chosen for business trips

In number of international meetings promoted by associations: in the Top 20 Destination Performance Index of the Icca (International Congress and Convention Association), 70% of countries and 80% of cities are European destinations. Asian countries follow (15%) and North American countries (10%), while Oceania, represented by Australia, has a market share of 5%. Spain jumped 2 places compared to 2019 and became the second destination for meetings worldwide, after the United States which remains firmly in first place for the number of conferences hosted. After Germany 3rd and France 4th, Italy in 2021 obtains 5th place, overtaking the United Kingdom which loses a position compared to 2019.

Rome in the top 20

In the ranking of cities, Rome enters the top 20 positions and ranks 16th.
In 2021, a total of 86,438 events in presence or in hybrid format were organized in Italy with a growth of +23.7% compared to 2020, for a total of 4,585,433 participants (+14.7% over 2020 ). The average duration of events was 1.34 days, in line with 2020 (1.36).
52.5% of conference and event venues are located in the North, 25.5% in the Centre, 13.9% in the South and 8.1% in the Islands.

Attention to sustainability and food and wine and with state-of-the-art technological equipment

“The success of face-to-face meetings will have to be based in the future on the quality of the content and the contribution that the destination can make to the achievement of the objectives of the event, the support of virtual elements, the offer of an effective experience of networking, sustainability. We need to focus on the intellectual value the destination can offer encounters with public-private interactions. Effective networking experiences from the organizer will be critical to the success and ROI of the face-to-face meeting. If we analyze the available data, we realize how much the determination of factors such as reputation, accessibility of venues, environmental factors, climate, additional conference opportunities, characteristics of accommodation facilities for standards quality and safety has increased and how we are also focusing on structures with fewer rooms with more familiar hospitality. Interest has grown in structures with outdoor spaces with flexibility of spaces, attention to sustainability and food and wine and with state-of-the-art technological equipment “- said CEO Enit Roberta Garibaldi.

Roberta Garibaldi

Roberta Garibaldi

Confcommercio’s concerns

Commenting on the data of the Piepoli Institute on tourism, Charles Sangallipresident of Confcommercio he stressed that “tourism is a very positive balance thanks above all to the return of foreigners even if it is not at pre-Covid levels. THE the exorbitant costs of expensive energy, however, may frustrate the winter season. European intervention is immediately necessary to support the most penalized companies and accelerate the strengthening of airport links and infrastructure in our country”.

Carlo Sangalli

Carlo Sangalli