Lots of tourists coming for spring bridges. Italy favorite country for slow tourism

Tourist arrivals are on the rise for bridges this spring. In addition, according to a study, Italy is the favorite country for slow tourism, starting with walking tourism.

Analyzing bookings between April 21 and May 5, 293,000 airport travelers are expected in Italy: more than 235,000 international passengers, or 80.3 percent of the total, plus about 58,000 Italians (19.7 percent). This was noted by theENIT Studies Office based on Data Appeal data. Overall, the flight booking window (made through GDS) is 70 days, for a stay that extends on average up to 9 nights. The balance will be taken at the end of this period, which has discounted the particularly disincentivizing weather.

Looking at the nationality of those arriving, Americans continue to be the most frequent visitors. For the period under consideration, about 32,000 airline reservations from the United States to Italy are confirmed, 13.3 percent of the foreign total. The flight to Italy is booked 130 days before departure, for an average stay of 12 nights. People travel in pairs in 57.6 percent of cases, while single-passenger bookings account for 24 percent.

“Presences,” says Alessandra Priante, ENIT President, "are consolidating, Europe is confirmed among our main markets with Germany and France in the lead, and despite the uncertain weather the trend is to experience open-air travel. China is back in fifth place among international source countries and all the long haul markets especially the United States and in particular from Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Miami. Tourists stay for at least 13 nights with peak arrivals expected on April 27 (10.5 percent). Rome and Milan are expecting 11.6 percent and 10.6 percent of flows from Shanghai and 10.2 percent and 7.5 percent of arrivals from Beijing, respectively. From Wenzhou, on the other hand, Milan receives 8.3% of passengers, while Rome Fiumicino receives 6%. Visitors arriving from Germany (7.3 percent), France (6.0 percent) and Spain (3.7 percent) together account for 17 percent of the international airport total in line with 2023."

Also according to data collected by the ENIT Studies Office on Data Appeal dashboard, on average Italy is among the most popular top destinations and the collateral accommodation offer, art cities have already filled as last year to 50 percent total all their accommodations for the bridges from April 25 through May 1 (59.4 percent in short rentals), with highest peaks on April 26 when they reach 60 percent of the total available. Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Basilicata, Campania, Sicily or Umbria, the bridge tourist is looking for a cultural experience that combines with the authenticity of the territories.

This is followed by stays in the mountains, which sells on a national average, in line with 2023, 46.9 percent (47.8 percent in hotels and similar) of the accommodation offered on web portals. April 26 and 27 are the days when the average stands at 55 percent, particularly in Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Valle d’Aosta, with the Alpine stars of Trentino Alto Adige leading the way. Finally, the lakes with 46.2 percent saturation of receptivity on OTAs grow further than last year (+0.7 percent), touching 58 percent on the day of April 26. Whether Tuscany, Veneto, Trentino or Lazio, Italian lakes allow you to savor your vacation days with a spring taste of sun and beach.

Outdoor vacations

With an eye on the recent past, Enit also proposes an Isnart/Unioncamere survey on Italian and foreign cycle tourists along the cycle routes in our country referred to 2023. Cyclotourists choose a vacation on two wheels more than other vacationers for cultural motivations (37.1 percent) for the pursuit of nature (36.4 percent) or for a vacation with food and wine experience (25.9 percent). The reasons why they choose a cycle route over others are because it is well maintained (one-third of cyclists), for the suggestions of the environmental and scenic context (26.2%) and for the desire to explore new routes (22.4%). Determinants in the choice of destination for all are the beauty of the landscape, the level of traffic (84.1%), accessibility of routes (81%), sustainable and ecological destinations (65.8%), and the quality of services (63.5%). The Outdoor Tourism Observatory by Human Company and Thrends estimates for open-air vacation in the summer months a further growth over 2023 of +2% on foreigners’ presences and +0.3% on domestic tourism presences as well.

Open-air tourism makes a record 402.2 million presences in Europe in 2023 (Eurostat data), with 28.4 mln more presences than in 2019 (+8%), an all-time high for Europe. An attraction for sustainable vacations in Italy that sees in the authenticity of its tourist offers the key to success, such as those reported by Legambiente with ENIT.

An Italy to be discovered, then, as in the case of the many paths that the Italian regions have witnessed over the centuries, such as the Via Francigena, which just between April and May sees the peak of its visitors - young (22%) or mature (21.4%) - from 55 foreign countries who travel it by bike (13.8%) but especially by walking (85.2%). A growing trend that of walking, as attested by a qualitative analysis conducted by the Italian Touring Club’s Study Center on a sample of walks representative of different areas of the country, there emerges a definite optimism among operators that the upcoming April 25 and May 1 holidays will see many walkers on the Peninsula’s routes.

It will not only be Italians who will set out on the road - there is evidence in this sense of a certain willingness of our compatriots to move not only to destinations of proximity - but also many foreigners: it is no coincidence that a recent study by the TCI Study Center highlighted that for some European countries monitored (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) ours is the favorite for doing slow tourism.

It is also found that at specific stopover points along the paths, the availability of beds is now exhausted: this aspect highlights how there is certainly still room to increase local supply, mainly consisting of extra-hotel facilities, in the face of a growing demand for walking tourism.

Again from what emerges from the operators’ evaluations, it is not only the more experienced walkers who will set out in the coming days, but also those who are less familiar with hiking: the proof comes from the fact that there are numerous groups that have been organized, a modality that allows a softer approach to walking and that probably reassures those who would not feel up to facing a trip without a supporting organization.

The good success that walk tourism is enjoying is attributable, according to operators, both to a renewed interest of people in outdoor activities, on which the Covid experience has certainly influenced, but also to the fact that many walks have invested heavily in promotion, making the offer more visible in the eyes of a demand that is now certainly more predisposed to this type of vacation.

Lots of tourists coming for spring bridges. Italy favorite country for slow tourism
Lots of tourists coming for spring bridges. Italy favorite country for slow tourism

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