Wedding Tourism in Italy: an experiential overview on the market

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Italy is a must destination for travelers and it comes with no surprise that people from all over the world, celebrities included, choose our country as the destination to celebrate the most important moments of their lives. Exclusive dreamy locations, romantic landscapes, breath-taking scenery awaits lovers and their guests in the Italian peninsula, creating room for the best wedding experience ever dreamed of.

Wedding tourism refers to a travel offer addressed to people willing to travel abroad with the purpose of the celebration of a wedding or moments related to it – as the bachelor or bachelorette party or the honeymoon.

It’s not anymore about just tourism, though: the latest reports show that organizing a perfect wedding must include exciting forms of entertainment for the guests as well as for the bride and the groom – before, during and after the wedding as a full experience.

Wedding tourism in Italy: the perfect couple’s destination

Not only cultural tourism or food and wine, for years Italy has been one of the most popular destinations for wedding tourism, with a growing demand from foreign operators and couples from around the world who choose Italy as the perfect stage to exchange their promises to each other. By doing so, couples are willing to spend large budgets to live a truly original wedding.

Overview on the wedding tourism market

According to the latest research about wedding tourism by Federturismo and JFC Tourism & Management, in 2018 Italy hosted 8,791 marriages from foreign people, a phenomenon that generated over 436 thousand arrivals and over 1,5 million presences, respectively +6.8% and +7.4% compared to 2017, with particularly positive results for the South and the Islands.

Out of 44 million tourists who visit Italy every year, 352 thousand – about 8% – do so to get married, celebrate anniversaries, organize bachelor or bachelorette parties or to have their honeymoon experience. Italy occupies an undisputed first place as top choice destination, followed by France (330 000 travelers) but still, it has to compete against Spain and Greece, that are much cheaper.

Where are couples from?

According to Federturismo in 2015, the United Kingdom and the United States have been the major sending countries for wedding tourism while China, Japan and Russia, instead, are growing rapidly. On average couples are from:

  • United Kingdom, counting for 26.4%
  • U.S.A. 20.7%
  • Australia 8.4%
  • Ireland 5,4%
  • Germany 4.9%
  • Canada 4.6%
  • Russia 3,3%
  • France 3.0%
  • Brazil 2.4%

 

How much do wedding tourist spend?

Wedding tourism in Italy has registered a total  of 380 million euros in turnover counting for about 7,000 events in a year, and the growth does not seem to stall. Most of the weddings are celebrated in summer in luxury structures, such as villas, restaurants, farmhouses and castles. A big part of the budget is invested in experiences related to the wedding itself, such as those that are to be shared with relatives and friends. Pre – and post – wedding activities are highly sought after and help to make unique the wedding event that is often associated with an average stay of a week.

What are the most popular locations?

With a 32,1% share, Tuscany was the preferred location in 2015, generating a turnover of 122,7 million euros. Lombardy (15,8%) saw a turnover of 59,3 million euros, followed by Campania (14,4%) with a turnover of 52,7 million euros.

Puglia, Sicily and Umbria are emerging destinations, thanks to the latest destination promotion to develop wedding tourism in the area.

Wedding tourism opportunities in Italy for tour operators and travel agents

Choosing the perfect wedding destination involves a full customised wedding plan: from the photographer to the hotel, from the wedding planner to the catering, from the activities before and after the ceremony to the honeymoon.

Attracting wedding tourism is not only important because of the immediate gain, but also because the rate of returning visitors is very high. And this is true for local operators as well as incoming wedding tourism operator.

In fact, for a country, attracting wedding tourism means as well:

  • To increase the number of visitors
  • To enhance the reputation and image of the destination and improve destination brand positioning
  • To extend the stay of couples and/or their guests, who often decide to extend their stay at the destination as a full holiday

Those who choose a specific place to celebrate their wedding will keep the memory in their hearts and will return – more or less frequently – to visit it over time, often to celebrate anniversaries. Word-of-mouth is still a very performing channel in wedding tourism too.

Italy is rich in opportunities for travel agents and tour operators that are interested in developing a wedding tourism offer.

Nonetheless, to stand out above the crowd, professional operators will need to develop new exciting experiences revolving around the wedding. Guests as well as the bride and groom will particularly appreciate offers that include entertaining local and unique activities.

Add Artès’ “stories to live together” to your next wedding tourism offer

Artès, thanks to its experience in the creation of original products with a high emotional impact, offers specific “stories” to operators interested in Italy to develop their wedding tourism market.

From Puglia to Sicily –  growing destinations for wedding tourism – our experiential “Stories to live together” take place in the most unique locations in Italy, such as the King Manfredi’s marriage at the Swabian Castle of Trani or pre-Wedding at Palazzo of Marchesi Pottino di Echifaldo: a timeless fairy-tale experience full of intense emotions and unforgettable memories to relieve the tension of the wedding as well as to start dreaming before the wedding itself.