Italy benefits from its tourist appeal as highlighted by its high volume of annual international visitor arrivals. The tourism sector accounts for 13.4% of the GDP and is a key driver of the Italian economy. Domestic demand remain strong (50.7% of total overnights in tourist accommodations) though its share has declined in recent years due to rising international arrivals (since 2010) and, until 2015, contraction in domestic demand.
Domestic and European guests prevail in Italian hotels. However, compared to other countries the share of long-haul international clients is rather high, and the nationality breakdown of foreign visitors is much diversified. Germany still remains by far the first feeder market in Italy, generating close to one quarter of foreign overnights (or 11.5% of the total overnights), well ahead of the UK, the US and France each accounting for about 4% of total overnights. It should also be noted that the number of British and American arrivals is still significantly below pre-crisis levels, while the number of German and French arrivals increased over the period.
Italy is the largest market in Europe and the third worldwide in terms of hotel supply after the USA and China with more than 1 million rooms. This market is rather fragmented with more than 30,000 hotels with average capacities of 33 rooms, and is strongly influenced by an independent hotel industry of small structures. Average capacity of chain hotels is 4 times higher: corporate chains are still less present in Italy but they operate bigger properties, especially in major cities. At the same time, Italy offers a wide agro tourism range that keeps growing year after year. Due to the nature of its tourist and residential supply, Italy is also a propitious market for alternative accommodations and the development of platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway.
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