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When in Rome? Italy is the favourite destination on consumers’ wish list

When in Rome? Italy is the favourite destination on consumers’ wish list

Italy is top of the list of countries that UK holidaymakers would like to visit in future, according to research released at World Travel Market London – the leading global event for the travel industry, released Monday 6 November at the event.

When asked which destinations they were interested in visiting in the future, 60% of holidaymakers said Italy, making it the top choice, ahead of USA (54%), Greece (48%) and Cuba (24%).

The research was carried out among 1,025 consumers, and mirrors the findings of a WTM London survey conducted among industry professionals. This found that Italy was in the top three destinations favoured by members of the travel trade for their own holidays during 2017 – the others were Greece and Spain. Furthermore, Italy was in the top three for the trade’s 2018 holiday wish list, along with Spain and the USA.

Italy was also the most popular destination when the trade was asked about business plans in selected destinations this year.

More than half (54%) of the 1,622 industry respondents said they were planning to have business conversations with Italian companies this year, well ahead of Greece in second place (35%) and Turkey in third (28%).

Also, Italy was the top destination when respondents were asked about business deals – 84% said they were planning to sign contracts with Italian companies, just ahead of those planning to sign contracts with Greek companies (83%).

Half of the respondents conducting business in Italy expect to conduct more business there next year, with just 5% anticipating a decrease.

The findings bode well for Italy, which has seen tourism perform strongly this year, thanks to its range of attractions and a shift away from less stable destinations, according to the Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London Edition, by Euromonitor International, released at WTM London tomorrow (Tuesday 7 November).

This research carried out for WTM London said the performance of the travel industry in Europe has been hampered by several events, including the Eurozone turmoil, Brexit, the migrant crisis and terrorist attacks. However, while some countries have been badly hit, others have benefited as many tourists have switched destinations.

The report says: “A familiar picture is forming, where the substitution effect means that cities in relatively quiet and stable countries are profiting from unrest in other countries.

“Spain, Greece and Italy are performing strongly, as they offer a similar climate to affected countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.”

Italian cities are also well represented in the top 100 rankings, with Rome (12), Milan (27), Venice (38) and Florence (44).

The report’s findings echo figures reported recently, indicating that visitor numbers to Italian hotels this summer rose by about 2% year-on-year. The country’s tourist trade has also seen a boost thanks to Airbnb bookings.

The Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT) will be the Premier Partner at WTM London 2017 to offer support to its tourism industry and highlight Italy’s diverse range of holidays.

The country aims to “widen the Italian tourist offer” beyond the traditional honeypot destinations, and highlight experiences to be had across the whole country.

ENIT will also promote its themed years, with Italian villages being the focus for 2017, and food and wine in 2018. Both themes celebrate the Italian way of life, which can be experienced by tourists in resorts throughout Italy, from its mountains to the coast, lakes and cities.

WTM London’s Paul Nelson, said: “There will be a great contingent from Italy at this year’s WTM London, as the tourist board has two main stands (EU2000, EU2070) and will share its exhibition space with about 230 Italian travel trade partners, including regional tourism bodies, hotels, travel agencies, resorts and operators.

“Our major market research projects have positive news for Italy, with consumers and the trade alike putting Italian holidays at the top of their agenda.

“Italy recognises the value of tourism to its economy and by becoming the WTM London Premier Partner, it will be able to highlight attractions throughout the country, spreading the benefits far and wide.”

•Italy stands at WTM London: EU2000, EU2070

eTN is a media partner for WTM.

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