BIT 2024 showcases big comeback of international tourism to Italy

Average room occupancy exceeds 2019 levels
/ New Delhi
BIT 2024 showcases big comeback of international tourism to Italy

Italy has been experiencing a surge in international visitors

A large turnout of international tourism stakeholders for BIT 2024, Italy’s biggest tourism trade show, held recently in Milan, indicates a strong comeback of international tourism to the country.
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The high turnout of tourism professionals from around the world for the 2024 edition of Borsa Internazionale del Turismo (International Tourist Exchange) in Milan has come on the back of a very strong performance by the country as a tourism destination in the year 2023.

In a press statement, the national tourism promotion organisation of Italy, ENIT, says that the year 2023 marked a significant recovery for the tourism sector compared to previous years, characterised by the return of international travellers and an increase in sales quotas for Italian hospitality businesses.

The statement adds that according to a study commissioned by ENIT-Unioncamere to ISNART, the average room occupancy rate reached 51 pc, up 3.8 pc compared to 2019, the peak year for Italian tourism.

The tourism board says that a positive trend was also recorded for international demand, which grew by 10 pc over 2019 and 7 pc over 2022. Foreigners spent an average of EUR 68 per person per day on Italian soil, EUR 6 more than Italian tourists, resulting in a positive balance of 2.9 pc in one year.

The board says that there is also a growing awareness of how important it is to steer Italian tourism offering more towards green services, which have become key marketing and market positioning drivers.

Sustainability travels by train

The board says that the increasing focus of tourists on the environment should be stimulated by favouring sustainable mobility that is increasingly integrated with environmentally friendly means of transport. And here, train travel is in first place, says ENIT. It adds that Trenitalia, the parent company of the FS Group’s Passengers Business Unit, was the official transport provider for the Borsa Internazionale del Turismo in Milan, demonstrating that travelling by train is a comfortable, sustainable and convenient way to move between the main cities of Italy.

ENIT says that the train indeed plays a fundamental role in tourism; it is the most environmentally friendly means of transport in the world. Moreover, high-speed trains offer an increasingly efficient service. It says that the Frecciarossa 1000 is the first high-speed train in the world to have obtained environmental impact certification based on a careful Life Cycle Analysis.

It says that every detail, from the light alloys used to build it to the new electric motors that propel it, has been designed to minimise energy consumption: it uses up to 30 pc less energy than the previous generation of high-speed trains. The focus on sustainability is not limited to the reduction of consumption but also takes into account the recyclability of the materials, which reaches 94 pc by the end of the train’s life cycle.

Even in Trenitalia’s regional transport, the fleet of new trains consumes 30 pc less energy than the previous generation. The Blues train makes it also possible to reduce fuel consumption by 50 pc and lower CO2 emissions compared to current diesel vehicles, it says.

Culture and nature: Top draws for Italy

ENIT says that the most popular reasons for international tourists for visiting Italy is a mix of history, art, fashion and traditional cuisine. It adds that the richness of Italian cultural heritage remains the main driver, with 24 pc, while natural beauty is in second place, with 20 pc. The motivation linked to the events held in the area is constantly gaining ground, attracting more than 6.5 pc of visitors, proof that an increasingly experiential type of tourism is making headway.

The most popular destinations also include many cities notably Milan which remains a favourite destination for lovers of high fashion, culture and night life. Award-winning restaurants and popular aperitif venues are very popular. The most popular areas are the historic centre with Piazza Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the Castle and La Scala Theatre, then Brera, and the Navigli, says ENIT.

Another top destination is Venice. With its canals and gondolas, sunsets and picturesque atmospheres, it is considered one of the most charming destinations in the world. ENIT says that other large cities notably Rome, Florence and Naples are also extremely appealing to foreign tourists.

It says that all parts of Italy, be it large cities or small villages, can accessed easily and comfortably through Trenitalia, the national railway. Connections guaranteed by Intercity and Regional trains allow visitors to reach also villages and small towns further off the beaten track, the perfect locations for truly unique and unforgettable experiences, it says.

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