Paul Thomen

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Italian Travel & Tourism Market 2017 at

In 2012, Italy was ranked fifth by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in terms of inbound tourist arrivals and international tourist receipts. While the country recorded a decline in domestic tourism in 2011, inbound tourism continued to increase. In fact, inbound tourism growth remained strong through the 2009 financial crisis and has remained so through the European debt crisis. The travel and tourism sector accounted for 10.3% of the nation’s total GDP and 11.7% of its employment in 2012.

This report provides an extensive analysis related to tourism demands and flows in Italy:
- It details historical values for the Italian tourism sector for 2008–2012, along with forecast figures for 2013–2017
- It provides comprehensive analysis of travel and tourism demand factors with values for both the 2008–2012 review period and the 2013–2017 forecast period
- The report provides a detailed analysis and forecast of domestic, inbound and outbound tourist flows in Italy
- It provides employment and salary trends for various categories of the travel and tourism sector
- It provides comprehensive analysis of the trends in the airline, hotel, car rental and travel intermediaries industries with values for both the 2008–2012 review period and the 2013–2017 forecast period

Based on Timetric’s estimates, Italy’s real GDP is expected to contract by 1.7% in 2013, led by sluggish domestic demand on the back of subdued consumer and business sentiments. The economy is likely to improve in 2014 and grow by 0.3%, bolstered by improving household consumption and enhanced exports. With gradual improvement in the global economic situation, Italy’s average GDP growth is projected to be around 1.2% during 2015–2017.

The growth of the travel and tourism sector slowed in 2012 as the country entered another recessionary period. Besides the nation’s economic contraction, a decline in investment and consumer spending was also recorded. According to the National Statistic Institute (Istat), the economy contracted by 2.6%, investment decreased by 2.3% and domestic consumption declined at a rate of 0.7% over figures from 2011.

The number of tourists from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC countries) increased during the review period. This upsurge is expected to make up for the decrease in domestic and European tourists. The government and tourism promotion agencies have been making efforts to attract tourists from these source countries. For example, in September 2010, Italy, France and Spain entered into an agreement to collectively attract international tourists from the BRIC countries. Under the joint logo of “European Passion”, the three countries aim to promote the Mediterranean Arc in BRIC countries.

The religious centre of Catholics, the landlocked Vatican City State within Rome, is considered one of the key reasons for the growth of religious tourism in Italy. The country has more than 30,000 churches and sanctuaries. Additionally, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organization (WTO), Italy is home to seven of the 10-most-visited Christian sanctuaries.

July–September is the peak season for domestic trips in Italy. Additionally, with a share of 54.5% of the total domestic trips in 2012, north Italy accounted for the highest number of domestic tourist arrivals, followed by central Italy with a share of 22.6%. Southern Italy accounted for only 16.0% of the total domestic trips in 2012 owing to its lack of tourism infrastructure development.

Italy attracts tourists all year round. International travelers visit Italy in the winter for skiing and visit Rome during Christmas. During Easter, tourists visit the country for religious reasons and others visit because prices are lowest during spring. In summer inbound tourists head to Mediterranean beaches, lakes and historical cities, but the season is crowded as it coincides with the peak season for domestic tourism.

A high unemployment rate in the aftermath of the financial crisis is a key concern for Italian outbound travel. The unemployment rate, which was 6.1% in 2007, increased to 8.4% in 2009. As of July 2013, the rate was at 12.0%; higher than the pre-crisis level.

Recessionary conditions in Europe during 2012 created problems for the aviation market. The situation was further worsened by a rise in fuel prices. Italy also recorded a decline in passenger traffic, particularly on the domestic front. The leading carrier, Alitalia, had to obtain a loan of EUR150 million from its shareholders in early 2013 to remain operational.

The Italian hotel market is targeting wealthy clients. As of April 2013, there were a total of 44 hotels in the first class and luxury category under construction. The completion of these hotels will add more than 7,500 rooms to the Italian hotel market. Many of the old historic buildings and monuments are being restored and renovated by leading hoteliers to convert them into accommodation. For example, the Villa Tolomei in Florence was re-opened as a five-star resort in May 2013 by Landmark Hotels. These new hotels will be advertised at the EXPO2015 World Exposition to be held in Milan in October 2015.

Italy is a European tourist destination and therefore offers potential for car rental services. Several new companies are entering the market to capitalize on the demand at major airports and key tourist attractions. In February 2013, US-based Enterprise Rent-A-Car appointed Locauto Rent as its Franchisee partner to expand its market presence in the Italian car rental market.

The expansion of domestic, inbound and outbound tourism and an increase in demand for package tours over independent travel offers potential for the travel intermediaries industry. Travel agents and tour operators must focus on religious tourism, agritourism and cultural tourism, and develop travel itineraries and packages to compliment them.

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