Italy is a beautiful country renowned as a tourist destination. The country is blessed with lakes, mountains, a dramatic coastline, and outstanding natural attractions. Italy is known worldwide for its unique history, culture, and architecture. There are over 100,000 historical monuments in the country, many of which date back to the times of the ancient Roman Empire. Over 50 of them have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites – and this number is more than in any other country.

World-famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael come from Italy. Besides art and culture, small towns in rural regions of Italy such as Tuscany attract visitors with an idyllic flair of dreamy alleys and vast wine-growing areas. Long sandy beaches in a warm Mediterranean climate offer sun-seekers plenty of variety in the warm summer months.

Covid-19 and Tourism Industry

Worldwide, the tourism sector has been one of the hardest-hit industries by the current Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, Italy was the fifth most visited country in the world, with 94 million foreign tourists. According to a survey by Horwath HTL, after China, Italy was the first Western country to become aware of the first cases of the Coronavirus in February 2020. Early cases were predominantly spotted in northern areas, particularly Lombardy and Veneto. After a few weeks of severe emergency, the pandemic’s rapid spread slowed down, allowing much of the country, in particular central, Southern, and the island regions of Italy to be less affected. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has a visible impact on the national economic system, particularly on the tourism sector and all of its associated activities.

To better understand Italy’s tourism industry, here, we explain some of the top trends and statistics in the industry.

Pre- and Post-Pandemic Trends and Statistics

  1. In 2019, the spending of international tourists in Italy was about 2.4 billion euros.
  2. Due to the impact of Coivd-19, in December 2020, the spending of international tourists in Italy amounted to roughly 454 million euros.
  3. As of the same month, the expenditure of Italian outbound tourists was 311 million euros, whereas it added up to 1.9 billion euros in December 2019.
  4. In 2019, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the ItalianGDP amounted to nearly 103 billion euros, the highest figure recorded since 1999
  5. The direct contribution of travel and tourism to employment in Italy peaked in 2019 when this industry directly generated over 1.7 million jobs.
  6. In 2020, travel and tourism, one of the most important industries for the country’s economy, contributed nearly 116 billion euros to the Italian GDP, decreasing from over 236 billion euros in 2019.
  7. The overall share of GDP generated by travel and tourism in Italy reached 7% in 2020, almost halving over 2019.
  8. As soon as the borders reopened, tourists wasted no time in returning to Italy, as in the rest of the world.
  9. The sale and purchase of increasingly personalized “experiences” have continued growing in accordance with the trend that began before the pandemic.
  10. The social distancing imposed as a response to the virus has birthed a growing demand for contactless solutions during the travel experience.
  11. Contactless solutions are being applied not only for payment but also, for check-in and check-out.
  12. The digital transformation led to the need for new levels of security for digital services and identity protection.
  13. From May 1, 2022, it is no longer mandatory to show a Green Pass to access businesses and services in Italy.
  14. Now in 2022, free access to local and national public transportation, bars and restaurants, shops, museums, theaters, cinemas, stadiums, gyms, spas, etc. is available.
  15. Veneto Region (Italy), as part of its recovery plan, is leveraging lesser-knownUNESCO heritage sites, to shift volumes from Venice to different attractions
  16. Popular destinations are reconfiguring their development model to attract people while ensuring sufficient social distancing.
  17. A special compensation of EUR 600 for March2020 was granted to tourism seasonal workers who lost their job as a result of the coronavirus.
  18. On 16 March 2020, the Government announced EUR 200million in measures to support Alitalia and Air Italy.
  19. Italy is also looking to further develop domestic and alternative markets and to promote a positive image as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  20. Italy is relaunching its image in the world with an extraordinary campaign to promote Italy in the world also with tourist and cultural purposes.

Contribution of Tourism in Italy

  1. Tourism continues to make an important contribution to the Italian economy.
  2. Including indirect effects, in 2017 it accounted for 13.0% of GDP and employed 14.7% of the workforce.
  3. Tourismindustries directly employed 2.0 million people in 2018, accounting for 8.3% of employment.
  4. Travel exports represented 39.9% of total service exports in 2018.
  5. According to accommodation statistics, the number of inbound visitors totalled 63.2 million up from 60.5 million, (a growth of 4.4%).
  6. International overnight stays rose by 33.2% between 2011 and 2018.
  7. The top inbound markets were Germany (19.3% of tourists), the United States (9.0%), France (7.5%), the United Kingdom (6.0%), and China, with the United States exhibiting strong growth, up 15.7% over 2017.
  8. The number of German visitors, on the other hand, was flat over the same period.
  9. Almost 60% of international arrivals head to just four regions: Veneto, Lombardy, Lazio, and Tuscany.
  10. A total of 62.9 million domestic overnighttrips were made in 2018.

Tourism Industry Insight

  1. Italy attracts more than 43.2 million tourists a year.
  2. Italy is the fourth highest tourist earner.
  3. Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world, behind France (76.0 million), Spain (55.6 million), the United States (49.4 million), and China (46.8).
  4. Tourists mainly come to Italy for its rich art, cuisine, history, fashion, and culture, its beautiful coastline and beaches, mountains, and priceless ancientmonuments, especially those from the Greek civilization and Roman civilizations.
  5. Tourism is one of Italy’s fastest-growing and most profitable industrial sectors, with an estimated revenue of $42.7 billion.

Other Tourist-related Trends

  1. Apart from Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence are the top destinations for tourism in Italy
  2. Sicily, the biggest Mediterraneanisland is a favourite destination for millions of visitors from all over the world because of its climate and picturesque nature.
  3. Italian cuisine is extremely indulgent because it uses a lot of fat, which adds a punch of flavour to everything.
  4. Italy is home to three active volcanoes, Vesuvius, Stromboli, and Etna.
  5. There is an island in Italy called Poveglia that’s believed to be so haunted and no one is allowed to set foot on it.
  6. There are more than 140 types of pasta available in Italy so keep that in mind when you walk into a restaurant!
  7. The best time to visit Italy is in the spring season (April to June) and the fall season (September to October) as the climate is quite cool and refreshing. 
  8. The summer season, from May to July, is considered the peak season, which means that it can get quite crowded during this time.
  9. Most tourists find themselves enjoying the hustle and bustle experienced during peak season as this offers its own set of experiences as well.
  10. Many travelers have also started picking shoulder-season months like March to May and October to November to enjoy a more tranquil holiday in Italy
  11. Thus, in 2021, the phenomenon of a staycation, i.e., tourism practiced near home, in one’s own region or country, is the winner of the year.
  12. This trend was made in 2020 and with this, it is possible to save, albeit in part, the season of many accommodation facilities and destinations that have not been able to benefit from the foreign inflow.
  13. Food and wine tourism” is another trend that will continue with respect to Italian travel behavior.
  14. Scheduled trips to wine and oil roads, to the districts of DOP products, and to small wineries to taste local specialties have become popular among Italians.
  15. Another growing trend is the concept of “workation” which stands for working while on vacation, without moving much from the home area.
  16. To enjoy workation, more and more people are booking vacations in beautiful places to relax and take a break with their family after work.
  17. More and more accommodation facilities are equipping themselves in this sense to make their travellers enjoy a unique experience.
  18. Luxury tourism is a new trend where travellers are increasingly looking for places where they can relax and enjoy a carefree holiday.