The focus is on the hamlets and hilltowns. Where to go, what to read, and what social media accounts to follow
This year 82% of Italians will spend their vacations in Italy, compared to 55% last year. The most popular destinations for Italians are Sicily, Sardinia, Apulia, Trentino Alto-Adige and the Etruscan Coast (in Tuscany and the Lazio region). This is the data collected from a survey conducted by AirBnb between April 1st and May 14th. A survey that led the greatest short-term rental online portal to launch an ad-hoc initiative for Italy.
“Rebuilding together” – that is the name of the programme – is part of the international project “Go Near” which relies on short-distance tourism: a season dedicated to local vacations, due to the restrictions of the Coronavirus pandemic. The project was conceived to sustain local economies by means of “domestic” tourism and relies on partnerships with associations around the world to encourage travel and local economic growth.
“The Italians want to go on vacation and the increased number of searches on our website is the first decisive sign of recovery – underlines Giacomo Trovato, Country Manager for Airbnb Italia. It will certainly be a different kind of summer, in which social distancing and cancellation flexibility will be fundamental to peace of mind when making reservations. That is why we are focusing primarily on promoting the over 120,000 independent solutions available on the platform, and on the possibility of a full refund up to just a few days before departure, which is already the case in over 70% of the announcements”.
According to the survey data, 62% of Italians will choose completely independent solutions, such as single-family homes, villas and bungalows, while the demand for apartments corresponds to a mere 7% of requests, compared to last year’s 17%.
Among the services most in demand, for the first time swimming pools rank higher than wi-fi; followed by pet-friendly housing, well-equipped kitchens, whirlpool baths and air conditioning. Airbnb features over 64 thousand independent homes with swimming pools, with the greater part located in Tuscany, Sicily, Apulia and Umbria. “Working with selected partners on the global level, we will spotlight the regions involved to help guests discover new destinations close by”, underscores Airbnb, announcing that the week of May 31st registered the first real growth since the beginning of the pandemic, with a 20% increase in the number of nights reserved on Airbnb in Italy, compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
Amazon has also decided to focus on short-distance tourism, and in collaboration with Lonely Planet, has launched #VacanzeInItalia, a guide with 20 suggestive itineraries (one per region). “The summer of 2020 will be all-Italian. Short-distance tourism will be the trend of the season thanks to which Italians will have the opportunity to explore the countless beauties of our Bel Paese”, reads the online portal dedicated to the initiative.
“From the castles in Valle d’Aosta to the Palladian villas, from the wild Cilento to Sicilian Baroque”: the selected locations offer “experiences, flavours and aromas”. For each destination, there is a showcase dedicated to the finest products Made in Italy, where one can purchase local delicacies, fine wines and hand-crafted objects, and all the equipment one needs to take on the journey. This initiative aims to support the over 750 small and medium-size businesses and the local craftsmen on Amazon.
There are also many initiatives to promote local tourism that feature the influencers on Instagram. First and foremost is Chiara Ferragni, the digital entrepreneur with over 20 million followers, who together with her husband the singer Fedez, announced her initiative in an Instagram story: “This summer I will take you to many different places, all of them in Italy, because we have decided to offer our full support to tourism in our own country, and to show it to as many users and people as possible in my posts and my stories. The locations will be beautiful, and I hope you enjoy our adventures”. Cristina Fogazzi, a.k.a. L’Estetista Cinica, and Paolo Stella are the two “testimonials” for Megatour, a journey to discover Italian hamlets and hilltowns. The Veneto region has launched a 2.3 million euro advertising campaign, a “sum never allocated before”, announced the Councillor Federico Caner, to launch tourism in the region. This plan will also primarily involve social networks and influencers.
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translation by Olga Barmine