copy the linklink copied!Italy

copy the linklink copied!Tourism in the economy

Tourism continues to make an important contribution to the Italian economy. Including indirect effects, in 2017 it accounted for 13.0% of GDP and employed 14.7% of the workforce. Tourism industries directly employed 2.0 million people in 2018, accounting for 8.3% of employment. An estimated 216 100 businesses were operating in the accommodation sector in 2018. Travel exports represented 39.9% of total service exports in 2018.

In line with global trends, arrivals data for 2018 shows steady and positive growth. According to accommodation statistics, the number of inbound visitors totalled 63.2 million up from 60.5 million, (growth of 4.4%). International overnight stays rose by 33.2% between 2011 and 2018. The top inbound markets were Germany (19.3% of tourists), United States (9.0%), France (7.5%), United Kingdom (6.0%) and China, with the United States exhibiting strong growth, up 15.7% over 2017. The number of German visitors on the other hand was flat over the same period. Almost 60% of international arrivals head to just four regions: Veneto, Lombardy, Lazio and Tuscany. A total of 62.9 million domestic overnight trips were made in 2018.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism governance and funding

The legislative framework for tourism in Italy has seen recent change as tourism was transferred from the Ministry of Culture to the Ministry of Agriculture in 2018/19 coinciding with the post-electoral Government of 2018. Further changes in 2019 has seen tourism return to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism. It is expected that the Directorate-General for Tourism will be reinstalled with competence including agritourism, food and wine tourism, agricultural fairs and forestry policies.

The Directorate-General for Tourism in the Ministry sets the strategic policy agenda in co-ordination with regions and autonomous provinces, and supervises the National Italian Tourism Agency (ENIT) and the Italian Alpine Club. It provides aid and incentives to develop the tourism sector, certifies foreign professionals, manages relations with international organisations, and participates in the development of EU legislation. The role of ENIT is to market and promote Italy as a tourist destination. A 2015 statute transformed ENIT from a public body into a public economic entity.

The Italian Constitution devolves several key activities to the regions, including regulating tourism businesses, developing strategic marketing activities and managing the EU Structural Funds. Provinces and municipalities can also issue local regulations relating to the tourism sector.

Tourism receives support from the 2014-20 Culture and Innovation programme financed by EU Structural Funds. Of the total budget of EUR 490 million, a large proportion is allocated to the development of 60 cultural centres in five southern regions: Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily.

The government-controlled Tourism Investment Fund, launched in 2014, and managed by the National Investment Bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, has an increased ceiling of EUR 250 million, of which EUR 100 million had been invested by 2016. The fund operates as a bridge between public assets in need of development and the private real estate market.

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Italy: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
Italy: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Source: OECD, adapted from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism, 2020.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism policies and programmes

The current policy framework is the National Strategic Plan for Tourism 2017-2022, which is based around four themes:

  • Culture and heritage: cultural and natural heritage should be enhanced through sustainable management practices and the innovative use of assets.

  • Competitiveness and employment: tourism competitiveness should be boosted to generate added value and increase the quantity and quality of employment.

  • Putting the tourist at the centre: the Italian tourism experience should respond to the demands and expectations of the market.

  • Integration and interoperability: the system of tourism associations and operators should be fully integrated, encouraging interoperability and partnership working.

Three strategic principles cut across all of the Plan's targets and measures:

  • Sustainability: a key element of competitiveness in tourism, which must conserve natural resources and landscapes and attract investment for their protection. A sustainable vision for tourism is geared towards sharing opportunities throughout the country and throughout the year, and bringing employment to new as well as established destinations.

  • Innovation: in relation to tourist destinations, business models, professional profiles, marketing, and the quality of services and products. Digitalisation is at the forefront of innovation, relating to the distribution of information, decision making by travellers and the expansion of information tools,

  • Accessibility: includes widening access to less-visited areas and giving all types of visitor the chance to benefit from tourism and fully appreciate the uniqueness of the destinations visited.

In 2016, the Ministry signed protocols with the Ministry of Economic Development and AGID, the Government’s digital agency, for the creation of new digital services for tourism, including Wi-Fi and large bandwidth networks. In a new commitment to tourism mobility, the Ministry has agreed a Special Plan for Tourist Mobility with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, with EUR 372 million available over the period 2016-2024, including EUR 90 million for investment in a ‘soft mobility’ network (e.g. cycle tracks, tourist rail services) and EUR 60 million for touring routes (Cammini), such as the Via Francigena and the Via Appia. This further develops the work begun during the 2016 Year of the Italian Routes, which had the objective to enhance the value of cultural routes.

The Tax Credit system for the tourism sector, namely the ‘Art Bonus Decree’, approved in 2014 and refinanced with EUR 460 million until 2020 aims to refurbish and modernise tourism establishments, is due to expire in 2020. It is hoped that this will continue into the future. A new hotel classification system with a special focus on sustainability and accessibility is in the process of being approved.

Greater emphasis has recently been placed from a promotional perspective on extending the national offer away from major attractions towards lesser known destinations. The objective is to diversify away from the popular iconic destinations and spread the economic benefits of tourism in both time and space by drawing on the inherent resources, history and uniqueness of places right across Italy. This strategy will develop products to meet niche interests, such as wine, sport, adventure and well-being, with new experiences offering local communities the opportunity to develop smaller scale tourism offers rooted in the place. This reflects market trends that see many visitors motivated to travel for a more personal experience centred around personal growth and self-actualisation as well as contributing positively to the places they visit.

ENIT’s 2020 marketing plan, therefore, draws on sustainable tourism principles to show the breadth of the offer. Some product strategies have been particularly successful such as cultural tourism linked to small Italian centres and smaller cities of art.

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Value Growth to enhance the sustainability of tourism

The future vision for Italian tourism development for the next few years focuses on value growth. This aims to generate sustainability in economic, social and cultural terms by drawing on the value of the wider tourism offer underpinned by local businesses. The vision sees the following as important:

  • An underpinning requirement for environmental sustainability.

  • Well co-ordinated promotion (national / regional / local level) based on common objectives,

  • Enhancement of local products and brands through “brand positioning” to fit the national system.

  • Respect for local communities and social responsibility.

  • Increasing the use of local airports and other transport hubs.

  • Building economic value by attracting events.

  • Supporting the competitiveness of the tourism offer with investment and product development.

  • Improving the quality of the service and product and the identification of segments / countries with the greatest potential.

This vision sees a broader definition of cultural tourism to be of potential value. In Italy, there are 5 568 municipalities with a population of less than 5 000, the so-called Borghi villages. These places offer 51 000 accommodation businesses with 1.4 million bed spaces and attract over 21 million arrivals staying 90 million nights. Moreover, 64% of the 55 UNESCO sites in Italy are represented in these locations and the seasonality of cultural tourism does not coincide with times of peak demand but rather encourages shoulder and off-season demand.

copy the linklink copied!Statistical Profile

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Italy: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND

Domestic tourism

Total domestic trips

126 515

112 860

127 858

121 851

145 307

Overnight visitors (tourists)

50 155

47 093

54 714

53 647

62 861

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

76 359

65 767

73 143

68 203

82 446

Nights in all types of accommodation

182 349

150 993

167 453

192 808

194 501

Hotels and similar establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Other collective establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Private accommodation

182 349

150 993

167 453

192 808

194 501

Inbound tourism

Total international arrivals

77 694

81 068

84 925

89 931

93 229

Overnight visitors (tourists)

48 576

50 732

52 372

58 253

61 567

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

29 118

30 336

32 552

31 678

31 661

Top markets

Germany

9 451

10 016

11 161

12 451

13 518

France

5 358

6 483

6 394

7 202

7 641

United Kingdom

3 768

4 153

4 356

4 932

5 659

Austria

3 244

3 417

3 513

3 690

4 020

United States

2 961

3 159

2 928

3 361

3 694

Nights in all types of accommodation

322 696

331 997

345 837

365 939

384 426

Hotels and similar establishments

141 331

146 744

160 438

170 412

177 738

Other collective establishments

49 762

50 390

52 058

56 659

66 547

Private accommodation

131 604

134 863

133 341

138 868

140 141

Outbound tourism

Total international departures

55 169

57 418

57 480

60 042

61 195

Overnight visitors (tourists)

26 862

27 494

29 067

31 805

33 347

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

28 307

29 925

28 413

28 237

27 848

Top destinations

France

5 411

5 769

5 532

5 525

5 787

Spain

2 365

2 526

2 703

3 120

3 567

Germany

2 287

2 281

2 587

2 769

3 048

Austria

1 420

1 551

2 192

2 219

2 191

United Kingdom

1 459

1 526

1 777

1 739

1 606

TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION EUR

Inbound tourism

Total international receipts

35 964

37 437

38 250

41 038

43 860

International travel receipts

34 241

35 556

36 359

39 155

41 712

International passenger transport receipts

1 723

1 881

1 890

1 884

2 148

Outbound tourism

Total international expenditure

26 781

27 346

27 613

30 649

31 972

International travel expenditure

21 713

22 012

22 546

24 557

25 485

International passenger transport expenditure

5 068

5 334

5 067

6 091

6 487

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077141

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Italy: Enterprises and employment in tourism

Number of establishments

Number of persons employed

2018

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

..

..

..

..

..

..

Tourism industries

..

..

1 953 792

..

..

..

Accommodation services for visitors

216 141

..

488 785

..

..

..

Hotels and similar establishments

213 529

..

287 740

..

..

..

Food and beverage serving industry

..

..

994 580

..

..

..

Passenger transport

..

..

160 823

..

..

..

Air passenger transport

..

..

13 774

..

..

..

Railways passenger transport

..

..

33 664

..

..

..

Road passenger transport

..

..

95 823

..

..

..

Water passenger transport

..

..

17 562

..

..

..

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental

..

..

8 746

..

..

..

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

..

..

46 172

..

..

..

Cultural industry

..

..

121 454

..

..

..

Sports and recreation industry

..

..

133 232

..

..

..

Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other country-specific tourism industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077160

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Italy: Internal tourism consumption
Million EUR

2015

Domestic tourism expenditure

Inbound tourism expenditure

Internal tourism consumption

Total

..

..

..

Consumption products

64 230

48 148

146 334

Tourism characteristic products

38 190

28 833

100 463

Accommodation services for visitors

14 134

14 880

52 460

Food and beverage serving services

10 116

8 429

19 470

Passenger transport services

9 250

2 999

17 462

Air passenger transport services

3 910

1 632

10 133

Railways passenger transport services

1 455

370

2 242

Road passenger transport services

2 021

683

2 909

Water passenger transport services

1 864

314

2 178

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental services

291

379

1 011

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

2 976

298

5 332

Cultural services

257

334

1 357

Sports and recreation services

1 166

1 514

3 371

Country-specific tourism characteristic goods

10 632

7 117

18 265

Country-specific tourism characteristic services

..

..

..

Other consumption products

15 408

12 198

27 607

Tourism connected products

..

..

..

Non-tourism related consumption products

..

..

..

Non-consumption products

..

..

..

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077179

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