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Increase in UK visitors to Italy, even during low season

From 6 to 8 November 2023
Increase in UK visitors to Italy, even during low season





Italy is a hot spot for travellers from the UK, with a growing number of British visitors to the country, even when it's not peak tourist season. ENIT's latest study, based on data from Data Appeal, reaffirms the significance of Italy's presence at the World Travel Market. The Italy stand, featuring the participation of 15 regions and several Italian and international stakeholders, will host discussions on emerging trends and destinations. MITUR and ENIT will be actively participating at the WTM in London, the leading international tourism marketplace, with stands located at N2-400, N3-200, and N2-210. The event runs until 8 November at the ExCeL Centre in London. The Italy stand will be officially opened by the Minister for Tourism Daniela Santachè. Fifteen regions are collaborating with Italy in this venture, including Tuscany, Sicily, Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Puglia, Campania, Lazio, Basilicata, Trentino, Marche, Lombardy, Calabria, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piedmont, and Umbria. Additionally, notable participants include Rome City Council, Visit Brescia, the Republic of San Marino, the Ministry of Agriculture, ITA Airways and over 140 private inbound tour operators, car rental companies, and various others. During the WTM event, participants and media representatives will have the opportunity to engage with representatives from 15 different Italian regions, local destination management companies (DMCs), hotel chains, and transportation service providers, all keen to connect with visitors and discuss Italian culture and ongoing developments in the country. The UK market is under the spotlight, as it annually invests over 100 million pounds, with a strong focus on cultural city breaks and coastal getaways. The top five preferred cities are Rome, Milan, Venice, Naples, and Bologna. According to ENIT and Data Appeal, in October, 48,300 air passengers from the UK touched down in Italy (compared to 34,100 the previous year), and significant numbers are expected in the last two months of the year (10,100 in November and 4,100 in December). The data also reveals that 64% of Britons book round-trip flights, while 36% opt for one-way journeys. Most bookings are for single travellers (54%), with 24% booking for two passengers. Economy class flights account for 78% of total bookings, while premium economy and business class make up 11.8% and 10%, respectively. The average stay in Italy is four nights, with 32% of Britons staying for two to four nights, and 21% extending their stay to five to seven nights. Notably, 16.8% of passengers from Heathrow Airport head to Rome Fiumicino Airport, while 14.2% of passengers head to Milan Linate, and 6.1% to Milan Malpensa from the same airport. Other destinations such as Venice, Bologna, and Naples also receive a share of passengers (6.8% and 3.8%). In the first nine months of 2023, 3.9% of all passengers at Italian airports originated from the UK, totalling over 290,000 passengers (considering data from flights passing through GRS systems). This marks a 10.7% growth compared to the same period in 2022 when 262,000 passengers were recorded. The data also reveals that 59.8% of these passengers prefer round-trip travel, with 49.5% being single travellers and 23.1% traveling in pairs. Small groups of three (4.9%) and four (5.7%) passengers also make up a portion of the travellers. Other modes account for 14.7% of passengers. Economy class flights are the preferred choice for 77.7% of passengers, while 10.9% opt for premium economy, and 11.2% choose business class. Only 0.2% travel in first class. The primary destinations for this market are Rome Fiumicino Airport (15.1% from Heathrow and 3.7% from Gatwick), Milan Linate (14.4% from Heathrow and 4.5% from London City Airport), and Milan Malpensa (6% from Heathrow). They are followed by Venice (6.1%), Naples (4.3%), Bologna (3.7%), Catania (2%), and Florence and Turin (<2%). Italy's leadership in sustainable tourism will also be a hot topic of conversation at the event. In the first quarter of 2023, there was a remarkable uptick in arrivals. From January to March 2023, international tourism witnessed an impressive upswing of 86% when compared to the corresponding period in 2022. Italy experienced substantial growth in the number of visitors, particularly in its prominent art cities. Over the past eight years, Italy has consistently held the top position in the realm of leisurely or slow tourism, capturing a significant market share, notably with the UK at 65% and Spain at 33%. Slow tourism allows travellers to explore lesser-known destinations in Italy at their own pace, whether on foot, by bicycle, or by train, to savour the cultural, culinary, and natural delights, and experience a quality of life that is hard to find elsewhere.

“I'm happy to be here in London. The World Travel Market is a key event for the tourism industry and one of the most important gatherings for showcasing the tourism highlights of participating nations. Against this backdrop, the ENIT pavilion offers an excellent platform for Italy to gain visibility on the international stage. This event also provides a valuable opportunity for exchanging ideas and initiating productive dialogues to address tourism-related issues globally. In addition, London and the United Kingdom serve as a crucial source for the prosperity of Italy's tourism sector and, consequently, our nation's economy. In 2022, British tourists, with over 3.6 million arrivals and 13.6 million stays, represented 6.6% and 6.8% of total tourist flows to Italy, making Italy the preferred destination for UK travellers”, states Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè.

“The message we want to convey at the World Trade Center today is simple: Italy offers unique experiences that no other place in the world can provide, be it for foreign or Italian tourists. Our history, culture, culinary heritage, and natural beauty come together in one unique destination, our country. Today, Liguria has chosen pesto to represent the region, with a giant mortar measuring six metres in height and eight metres in width taking centre stage in an installation that will sail on the River Thames. This campaign begins in London and will subsequently tour other major European and global capitals. Our aim is to further spread the message that has yielded exceptional and tangible results: Liguria is the ideal tourist destination for all types of travellers, catering to their diverse needs and expectations”, remarks Giovanni Toti, Governor of Liguria.

“Italy participates annually in the most prominent tourism fair in London, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to promoting its cultural, scenic, and tourism wealth to a broad international audience. This yearly event serves as a pivotal opportunity for the country, offering unparalleled visibility in one of the world's key tourism markets. It's not just an avenue to attract new visitors, but also to solidify partnerships with business stakeholders, tourism operators, and investors. This event represents a vital meeting point for industry players, enabling strategic collaborations and creating opportunities for the development of Italian tourism. By promoting Italian culture, natural beauty, and hospitality, Italy continues to strengthen its position as one of the most captivating and sought-after tourist destinations globally. Italy's consistent presence at London's leading tourism fair represents an ongoing and meaningful commitment to promoting the country as a top-tier tourist destination. Thanks to this enduring presence, Italy continues to captivate the imagination of those who wish to explore Italy's wonders, contributing to the sustainable growth of the country's tourism industry”, declares Ivana Jelinic, President and CEO of ENIT.

Francesca Cicatelli

ENIT Press Office

Via Marghera 2 - ROME

Phone: +39 06 4971 480