Both travelers and travel agencies will agree on seeing Italy as a captivating and appealing destination. The rising numbers that are shaping the market are not surprising: according to Ont – Italian National Tourism Observatory – by 2028, international arrivals are forecast to be over 82 million and will generate more than 56 billion€, with a yearly increase of 3.3%. While on one hand, national tourism is strong, on the other hand let’s not take for granted the fact that foreign visitor spending counted for 23.2% in 2017: Italy as a destination brand keeps improving with time, appealing both leisure travelers – whose spending generated 79.9% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP (136.4 billion €) in 2017 -, business travelers – that counted for 20.1% in spending – and investors.
As the trend keeps gaining importance, Italy’s Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism is investing in projects that will help travelers enjoying the touristic offer with new experiential perspective.
Image credits: MiBACT’s strategic plan 2017-2022
Italy as a rising experiential brand
The third-largest economy in the Eurozone has more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other country while its artistic and culinary heritage are the envy of any nation (Skift) and it goes without saying: with 54 sites on the list in 2018 and many more who applied to be in UNESCO’s list, Italy is a gold destination that travelers can enjoy experientially from all perspective.
On the other hand, over tourism is still a plague in Italy as well, in cities like Venice, where all attempts to cap the numbers of visitors has failed so far. In order to let travelers experience Italy, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Franceschini said he wants to attract people to less re-known sites and start to promote sustainability by encouraging tourists “to come and respect the fragility and the importance of this heritage”.
With this intent, the association “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” has been activated across all Italian regions. Promoting the artistic development of specific small Italian towns is not only a way travelers can experience Italy from a different perspective but also provides smaller destinations with tourism demand and, at the same time, it helps to balance the tourism flow across all peninsula.
Italian’s unique food becomes tourism gourmet experience
Italian small villages are the pearl of recent years investment and awareness campaign but they haven’t been on the spotlight by themselve: food and wine quality in Italy are well renowned worldwide and increasing investments in this vertical are meant to enhance the competitiveness of the companies and startups as well as to raise awareness among foreign and national tourists.
According to Isnart-Unioncamere, food and wine tourism in Italy has doubled the numbers in the last year. With a turnover of more than 12 billion euros, the sector counts for 15.1% of the total tourism business in Italy, with 43% of stays last year being Italian food tourists (47 million) against 57% of international tourists (63 million).
Given the importance of this niche, 2018 has been declared the year of food tourism in Italy by the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism. who declared: “An awareness of our food and wine heritage integrating environment, landscape, handicraft, and culture; one clearly stressing food’s relevance to a healthy quality of life, for a better sustainability of the territories in food production and innovation, however considering tradition” (MiBACT).
Slow tourism experience destinations: 2019 is the year of slow tourism in Italy
Nonetheless, experiential tourism opportunities in Italy are not limited to the food and wine sector.
“Just as 2016 was the national year of the paths, 2017 the national year of the villages and 2018 the year of Italian food, 2019 will be the year of slow tourism” – stated the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, at the presentation of the digital Atlas of the paths, a platform created with the purpose of letting travelers know about new ways of experiencing Italy as a destination.
“The 2019 Year of Slow Tourism will be a further way – said Franceschini – to enhance the Italian territories less known by international tourism and relaunch them in a sustainable way by promoting innovative travel experiences, from historical trains to high panoramic, cultural routes, paths, cycle paths, horseback riding.” While sustainable tourism keeps being a priority, the project aims to show the uniqueness of Italy, its regions, its people by protecting and enhancing the experience of the travelers at destination (MiBACT).
Italy as a story to live: when destination marketing meets experiential tourism
As the demand for experiential tourism keeps increasing, destinations have one but simple strategy to apply: develop memorable and unique experiences that will push the visitors into the spiral of a realistic story to live. How? By creating an experiential tourism offer based on the cultural, artistic, historic heritage of specific destinations that travel agencies will be able to easily sell.
From taking cooking classes to learn photography to visiting the most hidden parts of a big city. experiential tourism offers can apply to every possible scenario. A great example of that are Artès Stories that perfectly match the great italian cultural heritage with the rising demand of experiential travels in Italy.
From becoming a “Senior Torino Taster” to attending King Manfredi’s marriage at the Swabian Castle of Trani, Artès Stories to live are specifically designed to address all customer’s experiential needs and interests: feel free to have a look at their full catalogue at this link.