Italy's luxury tourism sector is booming

Strong growth for luxury tourism in Italy. In Florence alone, attendance at 4- and 5-star hotels in the first half of 2022 was 65 percent. And the supply of luxury accommodations such as villas and castles is the fastest growing.

There are the torpedoes that drop off hordes of tourists with sandwich and water bottle for a hit-and-run tour of our cities of art, but there are also those who plan a vacation with all the comforts to quietly enjoy their chosen destination for their trip with high spending budgets. From the 5-star hotel to the big-ticket NCC, from exclusivity to privacy to tailor-made service, so-called ’luxury’ tourism is increasingly establishing itself as the driver of a supply chain of services related to the tourist to pamper with huge economic returns. And it is precisely ’luxury’ tourism that was the focus of Duco, the event that calls together tourism operators specializing in this segment, which took place at the end of March in Florence for its fifth edition (the next one will be in Milan) bringing more than 200 international buyers, as many tour operators, travel agencies and travel advisors mainly from the U.S., Great Britain, Australia and Northern Europe.

Luxury tourism is growing in spite of inflation and the generalized increase in the cost of any good or service, and Italy represents one of the most coveted countries because of the variety of offerings it can represent starting from unique art places in the world to natural beauty, from cuisine to world-famous Italian good living. Not to mention the quality of hospitality. Italy is confirmed as one of the favorite destinations for luxury travelers, thanks to its cultural, artistic and scenic richness, as well as the quality of dining and hospitality. In particular, art cities such as Florence, Venice and Rome continue to be the most popular destinations, followed by prestigious coastal and mountain resorts. Suffice it to say that in the first half of 2022 alone, tourist stays at 4- and 5-star hotels in the Florentine metropolitan area accounted for 65 percent of the entire hotel sector, as explained by the president of the Destination Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau in the Tuscan capital, Federico Barraco.

Florence's Villa Cora Hotel
Florence’s Villa Cora Hotel
The Grand Hotel Baglioni in Florence
Florence’s Grand Hotel Baglioni

Luxury accommodations such as villas, castles and resorts were the fastest growing category in Italy, with a 12 percent increase over 2019. Luxury tourists from abroad totaled more than 3 million in 2022, spending an average of 4,000 euros per person. Italy managed to maintain a good share of the foreign market (25 percent). The international incidence was higher than the performance of the 3 destinations ahead of it in the 2020 ranking, namely Germany (10%), France (12%) and the United Kingdom (2%). In this context, for Italy, the estimated average 2020-2024 increase is +26% for domestic luxury tourism revenue and +31.0% for international revenue. In 2024, the projected foreign incidence increases to 28%. The high-end traveler-from a spending perspective-is increasingly shifting focus to eco-friendly vacations when choosing a destination and is attracted to 5-star hotels that offer advanced technology in eco-friendly environments. There are more than 11.7 million travelers spending nights in 5-star hotels. The international component accounts for nearly 76 percent of total attendance. In 2020, this rises to just over 4 million presences of which 2.2 million are foreign (54.9% of the total) and 1.8 million are Italian (45.1%). In 2021, total nights go back up to about 7 million. The highest share is always attributable to international clientele: 59.6 percent of presences, amounting to 4.1 million with an overall average stay is 3 nights. In 2020, according to the ENIT Study Office, luxury tourism (domestic and international) generated revenues of $511 billion globally.

Customers in this sector, especially in the wake of the pandemic, will continue to seek privacy, space, security, quality and attention to detail, but also private visits to museums and places of art.

“There is a focus on the concept of luxury as the authenticity of the experience of Italian excellence, true Italian luxury expresses the possibility of being able to enjoy the wonderful Italian beauty,” says Maria Elena Rossi, ENIT marketing director. “Italy communicates luxury in different ways according to the nations. The cultural sensitivity in declining the different messages embraces hidden luxury in the Netherlands, refined and not obvious luxury in France, eco-sustainable luxury in Sweden, and so on. Even in influencer campaign planning, the world of luxury is a constant for ENIT.”

Italy's luxury tourism sector is booming
Italy's luxury tourism sector is booming

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