In the first half of 2019, travellers from the United Kingdom spent €1.7bn in Italy, an increase of 15.6% over the same period in 2018. Spending per capita per night was €106.

The figures were announced at a press conference at WTM London by the Agenzia Nazionale del Turismo (ENIT – National Tourist Board). ENIT President, Giorgio Palmucci was accompanied at the press event by directors Giovanni Bastianelli and Maria Elena Rossi and institutional representatives from the Regions, who held conferences and topical focuses as well as tastings of traditional local products.

During the show, Italy is moving to “conquer” London – ENIT is “decorating” the city, and all the international airports and the ExCeL Exhibition Centre, with a massive campaign named “LIVE THE BEAUTY, YOU ARE IN ITALY”.

In addition, more than 170 taxis branded “Italia” are issuing receipts with the outline of Italy. The Westminster circuit, with almost 40 displays in London, is transmitting images of Italy in loop and these will also be seen in Luton, Gatwick and Heathrow airports. ENIT is thus pre-empting part of the celebrations for the centenary of the Agenzia Nazionale del Turismo, to culminate in Italy in November.

ENIT has announced that UK travellers chose to stay in Italy for at least five days, especially in the south, to visit Matera, Sicily and savour the wine and food excellences of Lazio, Tuscany, Piedmont and Puglia.

In 2018, there was an increase of 6% in British tourists in Italy over 2017. They were captivated by Veneto, the main destination region with about 2.6 million visitors, followed by Campania, Tuscany, Lombardy and Lazio.

Giovanni Bastianelli, executive director of ENIT commented, “Brexit doesn’t influence British tourism to Italy and, in fact, tourists are increasingly diversifying their choices – 74.3% of British tourists stay in Italian hotels while about 26% choose other types of accommodation. This type grew by 14.1% in 2018 over 2017. Travellers from the United Kingdom are satisfied with the Italy brand and Italian products, spending more than €3.5bn in Italy in 2018, 172% more than the previous year. About 58.4% of the total spending is concentrated in hotels and tourist resorts, B&B and agritourism account for 13.7%, the hospitality of relatives and friends another 12.4% while the quota for rented homes was 10.9%.”

International travellers crossing Italy’s borders numbered around 43 million in the first six months of 2019 (+2.0% over 2018). Overnight stays were up 4.3%, and overall expenditure by foreign tourists was up 6.7%. Top spenders were German tourists, who spent €2.8bn in the first six months of 2019, 15.1% of he total.

Rome remains the number one destination in Italy, with 49% share of overall numbers. Mr Palmucci announced that arrivals into Italy by air were expected to rise 4.7% this year. The total number of cruise passengers visiting Italy is also rising sharply – up 8.8% year on year from 2018-2019.

He added that Italy is number one in Europe for overnight stays by tourists from outside of the EU, with 46.4 million nights in 2018, up 8% on the previous year, beating France, which recorded 35.7 million.

Photo: Giorgio Palmucci, President, ENIT (right) with Maria Elena Rossi, Director of Marketing and Promotion, ENIT (left)