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Tourism, Italy at the top and focus on China for the year 2020

The tourism sector drives the economic recovery thanks to a brand that is increasingly recognized and appealing


Italy reduces the gap with Spain and moves ahead of France. We are not talking about a race, but about the figures detailing the number of foreigners visiting the superpowers in the area of tourism. The data, provided by ENIT (the National Tourist Agency) during the presentation of the three-year plan 2019-2021, presents a detailed picture of the current situation and future prospects for a sector that is increasingly important to our economy, and alone contributes 13.2% of our GNP (232.2 billion euro), and occupies 14.9% of our labor force (with 3.5 million jobs).


«Italy offers an experience of culture and landscape with few equals»

So says Gian Marco Centinaio, Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forest Policies, and since last July, of Tourism. «Our three-year plan has many goals. From increasing the Country’s appeal to tourists who have a growing spending capacity, to supporting the private sector with special attention to tourist destinations. All of the above without forgetting the need to decongest areas plagued with the phenomenon of ‘overtourism’. We must continue to work together with the regional governments and trade associations to confirm our status as one of the strongest players in the global context. The ‘Italia’ brand is recognized and attractive – continued Centinaio – and this must drive us to develop an industrial policy for tourism, as one of the driving sectors in our economy».


The new plan for the years 2019-2021 revolves around a series of principles. Not only sustainability, accessibility and innovation, words that are now embedded in the vocabulary of any project with an eye to the future. Other important principles include coordination with local governments, the pursuit of growth that has real value, the centrality of ‘Made in Italy’, and last but not least, the development of a network of services and transportation, both public and private. A fundamental role is reserved for the food industry, a crucial factor in attracting categories of travelers associated with activities that take place throughout the territory and not just in the most popular urban areas.

How was the year 2018 for tourism? The answer comes from the President of ENIT Giorgio Palmucci. «An analysis of the data gives us a positive outcome from various points of view – underlines Giorgio Palmucci, president of ENIT since January 2019 – with figures that demonstrate a constant increase in the number of tourists for a total of 428 million visitors from abroad (50.5%) and from Italy (49.5%). Spending is also on the increase, with a positive figure of 16.2 billion euro (+11.2% on an annual basis). Our efforts to deconcentrate the seasonal flows are very significant. With respect to the past, when vacations were concentrated during the summer months, visitor arrivals are spread out more evenly across the year. Another indirectly-linked figure is the increase in the number of tourists in the smaller towns. The 5% of towns that in 2014 welcomed two thousand tourists, now host ten thousand».

Focus on China

An increasingly important player at the global level is the Asian giant. «We began conversations with our counterparts in China just a few months ago, said Centinaio, and they were concretized by the visit to Italy of the President of the People’s Republic Xi Jinping. Our two countries are top-level players that, in the area of tourism, address one another at the same level, and this is why we established the year 2020 as the year of the friendship between Italy and China. Our goal is to attract more than the three million tourists who come from China every year. Theirs is a wealthy tourism and we have the infrastructure that it takes to answer this demand. We also want them to stay longer than just a few days, and to do this we must diversify our offer».


translation by Olga Barmine

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