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Italy Tourism: We are the most desired country

Italy Tourism: We are the most desired country

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“Italy is the most sought-after destination by foreign tourists and it is an honour for us to return to WTM in London as a premier partner.” This is how the president of Enit – Italy’s National Tourism Agency – Evelina Christillin had begun at the press conference that followed the cut of the ribbon of the Italian stand at World Travel Market in London, to which Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism and Tourism Dario Franceschini spoke.

From the research “Be-Italy” conducted by Ipsos for Enit with the aim of investigating the brand Italy in 18 countries, it emerges that 37% of respondents answered “Italy” to the question “Where would you go on vacation if you win a travel?” This is a large percentage that puts Italy in first place, ahead of the United States and Australia (chosen 32% and 31% respectively), which once more demonstrates how Italy has a unique charm on foreign travelers.

“When it comes to tourism,” said the Adviser Enit Fabio Maria Lazzerini, “I like to say that Italy is a superpower, thanks mainly to its ability to astonish continuously. The data continue to show a positive trend, because, beyond the immense artistic, natural, and cultural heritage, what the tourist finds in Italy is nowhere else in the world: the Italian way of life, the pleasure to stop and enjoy a unique lifestyle. In this context, we have a major work to do: balancing and managing flows, promoting new routes outside the more traditional and crowded destinations, leveraging all the clusters we have identified.”

An accurate strategic choice, that of Enit, born from the desire to put in place the extraordinary Italian excellence, is to promote the “product Italy” through the valorization of landscapes, villages, widespread culture, traditions, lifestyle, and food and wine. One element, the latter, which will be central to the promotion of Italy in 2018, the year that the Minister has decided to dedicate to Italian food and wine with the aim, inter alia, of attracting “slow” and experiential, will be made up of travelers who want to discover typical products and hidden beauties.

According to research Ipsos “Be-Italy,” foreign tourists put Italy at the forefront of quality of life, creativity, and inventiveness, while the wine and food supply is now a primary motivation for travel (as cited by 48% of respondents), and on the same level as art cities and monuments (chosen respectively from 49 and 48% respectively). Cooking, in fact, is the first aspect associated with Italy (according to 23% of respondents), followed by monuments and fashion (both at 16%) – a result confirmed by Food Travel Monitor, according to which Italy is the first place in the world as a food and wine destination.

Tourism is a key sector of the Italian economy: In 2016, it had an impact of 12.6% on employment and 11.1% on the national GDP. And thanks to the record summer since that record, the estimates for the incident PIL 2017 predict a further 2.4% growth. Data on the first half of 2017 confirms the positive trend, not only in absolute but also relative terms: Italy is growing more than the other European countries, recording an increase of 11.8% over the same period of 2016 (Source: Eurostat, Main Table, Tourism). Another important fact is the primacy of Italy among the European destinations of the Schengen area for long-haul tourism: a traveler coming to Europe chooses Italy (source: Eurostat – Database – Tourism), and in 2016 there are more than 39.7 million visitors and tourists from non-EU countries. Finally, regarding the web reputation, the sentiment towards Italy is largely positive (83.9%, up 1.5% compared to 2015/16), and the food is the discursive area that it marks the highest index of conversational positivity.

“We have finally done a job with the regions,” said Dario Franceschini, “and today, the World Travel Market in London is promoting the whole of Italy and not individual regions separately. The strategic plan of tourism that will guide our work over the next few years is based on the need to govern the growth of a growing industry: a great job was done in 2017 with the year of the villages; yesterday, we presented the walk-through portal, and 2019 will be the year of slow tourism, an additional way,” concluded the Minister, “to enhance the lesser-known Italian sustainable territories.”

“At WTM in London, Italy – as a Premier Partner – occupied two of the main stands (EU2000 / EU2070), where around 230 partners were located among regional tour operators, hotels, travel agencies, villages and operators. There were 17 regions present this year at WTM, in addition to Rome Capital: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Lombardy, Marche, Piedmont, Puglia, Sardinia, Umbria, and Veneto. The best of the Italian tourist offers, with the support and guidance of Enit, aims to give further strength and visibility to Italy as the most desirable destination in the world.

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