How did the 2020 summer holiday season go in Italy?

Italian tourism, a sector that accounts for 13% of GDP, has just turned the page on one of the most complex seasons in its history. 

“Good, but not great” pretty much sums up the season’s performance. Especially given the expectations. 

Since while (according to data from the Italian hoteliers association, Federalberghi) 1 in 2 Italians went on holiday – with a high number of tourist nights approaching 2019’s figures over the peak mid-August holiday week – there was still a considerable overall decrease on last year.

The average length of stay for people’s main holiday was shorter (-10%), and the number of people enjoying a second shorter summer break also dropped. It’s not hard to see why: smaller budgets (60.6% of those interviewed); annual leave eaten up over lockdown (59.8%), businesses staying open over the summer holidays (16.1%).

On the upside, the vast majority of Italian holidaymakers this summer chose to stay in Italy: the big winner, as usual, was the beach, followed by the mountains, with a drop in visitors to art cities.

When it comes to the type of accommodation that Italians chose to spend their main holiday in, hotels come out on top (24.7%). They are followed by private houses (belonging to relations and friends, or own holiday home) and B&Bs (14.2%). 

Accommodation facilities tellingly offer greater peace of mind on the safety and hygiene front, in terms of both food and rooms, and are generally regarded as better equipped to provide help should the need arise.

How can the sector pick itself back up from these figures? The key lies in innovation. According to Deloitte, Italy’s infrastructure is lagging behind in the tech and digital stakes. The aim is to provide the end customer with new ways to make use of both physical and digital services. There is an opportunity here to exploit digital technology to create interconnected tourist hubs where the players involved help promote and make the most of the area and its business potential, offering tourists a travel experience that, on the one hand, shows that we are equipped to handle the “new normal” and, on the other, proves worthy of the wealth of tourist attractions that Italy has to offer.


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