3 things about cultural travel experiences in Italy that your travel agency should know

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The ministry of culture (MiBact) has recently released some interesting data regarding cultural travel experiences in Italy. Let’s dive a bit more in what makes Italy a great destination for cultural travel experience.

The great success of Italian museums

The data demonstrates that Italian museums are doing well and have shown a continual improvement over the last 4 years. According to the figures from 2017 there were over 50 million visitors to Italian museums which is a new record. Museums are being visited by more and more tourists, and there is a boom in archaeological sites. The data from MiBact’s statistics office shows that there were 5 million more visitors and an increase in spending of 20 million euro from 2016 to 2017. According to the minister in 2017 – Dario Franceschini – over the last 4 years there has been an increase of visitors from 38 million in 2013 to over 50 million in 2017. The 12 million extra visitors brought with them an increase of 70 million euro over those 4 years which represents an increase of 53% in cash incomings. Museums and archaeological sites are experiencing a rebirth in popularity and this success is underlined by the increase in visitors and cash receipts.

Italian tourism is growing, in contrast to the rest of Europe, making cultural travel experiences in Italy a real gem. Every museum has shown an increase in visitors but archaeological sites have shown the most significant increase. According to the statistics released by MiBact the top three regions with the largest number of visitors is Lazio, la Campania, and Tuscany. Notably, the areas with the highest increase in visitors are: Liguria, Puglia, and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

When cultural travel experience meet social media

The increasing popularity of Italy as a cultural tourism destination, particularly regarding museums, has been assisted by the growing use Italian museums and tourist destinations are making of social media and digital platforms. According to a study carried out by the Osservatorio Innovazione Digitale nei Beni e Attività Culturali in 2016, 52% of Italian museums had a presence on social media, but that these museums could improve their online presence – and of course there is a lot of room for growth and improvement in this area. Even though 52% of Italian museums have an online presence, very few of them use a multi-platform approach with most using Facebook exclusively, followed by Twitter and Instagram. These figures demonstrate that there is potential for museums to exploit social media and digital platforms to gain more visitors and popularity.

MiBact has launched several digital campaigns which have been successful. The campaigns are aimed at informing potential visitors of the tourist options open to them, but also to generate interest and curiosity and encourage people to visit Italy. One way of doing this is through the use of social media and digital platforms, which MiBact does at a national level.

One of the most recent social media campaigns carried out by MiBact was called “labyrinths of art” which ran last June. MiBact invited tourists to take photographs of works of art which represented labyrinths and to share them on social media with the hashtag #labirintidarte and / or #giugnoalmuseo. Instagram was particularly important for this campaign and visitors could upload their pictures to @museitaliani which connects to the profiles of over 420 state museums, archaeological parks, and sites of Italian culture. As with previous communication campaigns MiBact will release over 50 digital posters based on the labyrinth theme which represent real, physical labyrinths or images of labyrinths and all things to do with labyrinths from Italian museums. These include a plan of a labyrinth from the start of the 16th century at the Uffizi in Florence, a mosaic of a labyrinth from the first century A.D., in the archaeological park of Pompeii, and the labyrinth of Knossos from the 15th century in the library of the university of Modena, to name but a few.

Cultural travel experience in Italy: online vs offline interaction

It is clear the importance MiBact places on social media and digital platforms. Museums and tourist destinations in Italy should make more and better use of social media to publicise what they have to offer. Digital media and platforms have the power to revitalise forgotten or underexploited areas of tourism in Italy, and can target new and old potential tourists. Social media and digital platforms are an invaluable resource for the tourist industry going forward into the future. Having said that, face to face professional relationships in Italy are still highly valued in the cultural tourism sector, both from the point of view of business to business, and business to customer. We are recommending that cultural tourism destinations make use of digital platforms to add to their business, while still caring for traditional relationships.

This double pronged approach allows us to focus on developing and improving our great tourist experiences, and provide great experiences in Italy.

Check out our Artès catalogue today to find all the cultural travel experience available for travel agents.