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ENIT on tourism: arrivals from the Emirates up by 164%

6 May 2024
ENIT on tourism: arrivals from the Emirates up by 164%




ENIT is attending the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) fair in Dubai. In an exhibition area of some 700 sq.m, Italy is represented by eight Italian regions (Basilicata, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Lombardy, Marche, Veneto and Sicily) as well as Visit Brescia and 38 Italian tour operators, totalling over 100 participating companies.

This is a key international meeting for creating new synergies and partnerships with tour operators, travel agencies and international investors interested in developing tourism projects in Italy, which translate into new tourist routes, themed holiday packages and infrastructure investments and that help to diversify the country's tourist offering and reach new market segments.

In recent years, partly due to the political situations in some markets, the Gulf countries have taken on great importance in promoting Italy as a destination. Italy’s participation in the ATM fair has notably increased, not only through ENIT but also with Italian regions and a growing number of Italian tour operators. In recent years, the exhibition area has expanded from 250 sq.m to the current 678.

Within these markets, it is therefore essential to maintain a constant presence at international tourism events, and the ATM fair, in particular, has for many years been the leading international tourism fair for the Gulf and neighbouring markets (India, MENA and South Africa). This year, the Italian Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Daniela Garnero Santanché, and the Chair of ENIT, Alessandra Priante, are also on the guest list.

In 2022, travellers to Italy from the Middle East increased by approximately +164% on the previous year and +47.7% on 2019. Most of these tourist flows originate from the United Arab Emirates, accounting for 32.7% of the total, up by 82.4% on 2021 (+34.1% on 2019). Specifically, 88% of these visitors come from Dubai (+104.6%) and 11% from Abu Dhabi (+1.5% on 2021). Next come travellers from Saudi Arabia, accounting for 18.8% with an increase of +409% on 2021 (+65% on 2019). (ENIT Research Department based on UNWTO and Bankitalia data). In 2022, overall spending by visitors to Italy from the Middle East grew by +127.0% compared to 2021. 38.6% of total revenues is attributable to Emirati tourists, most of whom originate from Dubai (90.3%).

Also in terms of spending, people travel to Italy primarily for personal reasons (82.3% of the total vs. 17.7% for work) with holidays accounting for about 64.0% of these visits. Other revenues from visits for personal reasons include, most notably, visiting relatives/family (17.1%) and friends (4.2%), studies or courses (7.7%), shopping (3.2%) and honeymoons (2.8% from Dubai alone). The accommodation of choice is mainly hotels and resorts which, together, make up 67.2% of the total expenditure. These are followed by staying with relatives and friends (15.3% of expenditure), in rentals (9.1%) and in owned houses (5.5%).

“This is a key international meet, especially in relation to the Gulf and our projection towards the markets of India and South-East Asia, creating new synergies and partnerships with a high-spending market, tour operators, travel agencies and international investors interested in developing projects in Italy, which is why ENIT's presence is so important,” commented Minister Santanchè. “These are valuable opportunities to define strategies for opening up to new areas of great interest for the growth of the industry and, in particular, for the luxury segment, which generates significant economic benefits for companies and local areas and views Italy as an extremely desirable destination. This also means investing in quality,” the Minister concludes, “as my Ministry is already doing, starting with the various measures and resources allocated under the PNRR scheme.”

“Italy's presence at the Dubai fair is a strategic opportunity for us consolidate our position as a prestigious global tourist destination. It is crucial that we consolidate our visibility here, now,” comments ENIT’s Chair Alessandra Priante, “using a forward-looking vision and a solid approach to innovation and digital transformation, which is, indeed, the theme of ATM this year.”

Francesca Cicatelli

ENIT Press Office

Phone: +39 392 9225216