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BIT OBSERVATORY 2011 : Travel trends and Italian tourism trends during the crisis

The 31st edition of BIT – International Tourism Exchange that will take place in the Fieramilano Fairgrounds of Rho from 17th – 20th February 2011, confirms in Italy its role as a hub at the service of tourism and refines its B2B heart by providing exhibitors with an innovative marketing intelligence tool that can make the trade fair moment more effective in terms of business. Conceived for foreign exhibitors, but also useful for Italian exhibitors, the Italian Market Overview reveals a whole scenario and valid keys to make suitable business considerations and identify appropriate liaisons and partners on the Italian market. The study highlights the potential of the Italian tourist market that, with about 57,700,000 trips abroad in 2009 (slightly more than the year before, thus confirming a positive trend) and with a spending capacity for holidays that places Italy sixth in the world, is confirmed as being of absolute interest to commercial evaluations.

Rédigé par La Rédaction le Lundi 7 Février 2011

BIT OBSERVATORY 2011 : Travel trends and Italian tourism trends during the crisis
Despite the economic crisis still ongoing, the travel remains a key component of personal fulfillment for the Italians who are increasingly budget-conscious thanks to low cost solutions and who are also careful to select the destination. It’s important to note the slight increase in last minute bookings in order to find cheaper offers, and at the same time the increasing purpose of travel by special interest (sub, wellness - also for young people, sports, art&culture, gastronomy and events), besides the use of Internet, communities and social media especially to get travel information, the growing importance of “word of mouth” to share opinions and to get travel suggestions and also the growing travels interest for third age people that will represent, within 2050, the third part of global population. The honeymoon and luxury segments instead continue to be very strong and represent very interesting market niches.

As for the first segment, 76% of honeymooners organize the trip by travel agency and 60% of honeymooners choose a long holiday (about 3 weeks) allowing a long haul trip. The wedding list in travel agency is more and more popular, first in the North of Italy. Italian travel agencies declares as top three destinations for honeymoon: USA, Cruises and Polynesia. So, in general, travelling is perceived as something essential, as a personal need.

A slight increase is registered in 2010 regarding the budget for holidays. According to the latest Ipsos-Europ Assistance Barometer, Italians, with a budget of € 2,132 (down to € 72, - 5% compared to 2009) are positioned in fourth place in European ranking after Britain, Belgium and Austria. The impact of the crisis affects the choices of the Italians in terms of holidays: budget represents the most influenced factor by the effects of global crisis (42%), the economic situation is having a negative impact also on the choice of destination (31%), as well as the average length of stay (31%). Italians are the most sensitive in Europe to the effects that the crisis has on the budget for the holidays. It’s fundamental to note also the decrease of the average expenditure abroad: 20015 million euro in 2009 (-4,3% on 2008), for leisure -1,2% and for business -10,1%.

Regarding Luxury market, in Europe people spending more than 2.500 euro represents the 5% of total trips but the 27% of total turnover and luxury travellers demand is high level ad hoc services (luxury hotels, car with driver...).

In general luxury travellers go on holiday more than 2-3 times per year, travels are spread out all over the year with peaks in August and December during summer and winter holidays, and destination and brand have the same influence on the traveller: first of all they look for emotions. Nearly 80% of luxury travellers travel for more than 10 days, among which the 27% even 14 days and more. The luxury market gathers last minute traveler: 56% book from 1 to 3 months before departure and even 25% less than one month.

Luxury travellers themselves don’t travel alone or with friends while they use to spend their holidays with partner favouring romantic destinations and they like best to travel with national airlines.

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