Delegates at the WTM Vision Conference – Rimini will see the research, presented by Euromonitor International, which will show nearly 12 million Germans visited Italy in 2012, making it the number one market for the country, followed by nearly four million visitors from the UK. The USA was in third place with about three million visitors, roughly the same as in 2011. The USA remains the only non European market in the top 10 for visitors to Italy while both Poland and Russia broke the million mark in 2012.
The numbers mean international arrivals to Italy grew by 0.5% in 2012 while it is predicted they will grow a further 1% in 2013. The numbers are up as a result of growth in the world economy and tourism flows, although the country’s predicted CAGR in international tourists of 2.1% from 2012 to 2017 falls short of the global prediction of 4% during the same period.
The number of Italians travelling abroad has remained stable year on year with nearly 20 million opting to do so in 2012, as short haul trips to European destinations remain the most popular. However, outbound expenditure declined by 2% as the country saw its real GDP decline by 2.4% in 2012. This decline in real GDP is expected to decline again in 2013, but by less, to 1.8%, as the country continues to feel the bite of recession and government-imposed austerity measures. It is hoped the Italian economy will come out of recession in 2014 following growth in Western European markets.
While the country’s economy has been struggling, there has been a growth in online travel sales during the same period. In 2012 the market generated more than €6,000 million in sales and is predicted to break the €7,000 million mark in 2013. By 2017 the figure is predicted to be touching €10,000 million.
Reed Travel Exhibitions Exhibition Director World Travel Market Simon Press said: “While the industry might not be keeping up with global trends, it is heartening to see tourism increase in a destination as popular as Italy. Tourists bring vital cash with them and this will hopefully help drive the country’s economy break out of recession next year. Not only will this benefit Italy but many of its European neighbours, as Italians feel more confident economically and start travelling and spending more.”