NEWS » Summer 2017 boom for the Italian Tourist Industry

Summer 2017 boom for the Italian Tourist Industry

Summer 2017 hit a boom for the Italian tourism industry and is on its way to being a record year. A further rise in arrivals throughout the autumn has been predicted by the Culture Ministry.

According to figures of the Italian hotel trade association Federalberghi and the Cultural Ministry, almost 50 million people spent the night at an Italian hotel during June, July, and August this year. The exact number was 48.3 million. A further three million spent the night at an Airbnb accommodation, a remarkable 20 percent increase compared to last year.

The favourite destinations were seaside resorts with a 16 percent rise in visitors over 2016, while foreign tourism increased by 5% over the same period last year. The most significant rise was in the Emilia Romagna region (+25%), followed by Apulia (+23%) and Sicily (+22%). Moreover, also cultural destinations proved to be more attractive this year, and museums saw a 12.5 percent increase in visitors’ numbers, especially in Puglia. 

The reason for this year’s boom wasn’t only the increase of foreign tourists but also an increased number of Italians spending their holidays in Italy: 34 million, up 3.2 percent on last year.

Most of the Italian main touristic attractions including Venice and the towns of the Cinque Terre have been experiencing problems of overcrowding, causing negative impact on liveability in these beauty hotspots. For this reason and to make the most of Italian beauty spots, the government has tried to tackle the problem by promoting lesser-explored areas of the country. The Culture Ministry reported an increase of 74 percent in tourism to rural areas this year, based on figures provided by Airbnb. Coldiretti, the farming organisation also showed an eight percent rise in overnight stays at Italian farmhouses.

Sustainable tourism increased by 10 to 20% on the most famous routes such as via Franchigena and other Franciscan itineraries. Among the various forms of sustainable tourism, trips on historic trains along railway lines no longer served by the local public transport service is gaining traction. In 2017, as many as 70,000 passengers have travelled on these old tracks. This is a completely new phenomenon, recording a steady increase of 20% in the last three years.

Giulia Lombardo

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