· So far, revenue from international tourism in Italy in 2022 has exceeded 23 billion; in November, international airline bookings to our country grow 65% over 2021
· Worldwide, international arrivals have now reached 65% of pre-pandemic levels and in the third quarter of 2022 alone totaled 390 million; Europe leads the recovery and reached 81% in the same quarter
· 93% of Italians take sustainability into account when making travel decisions; slow, conscious, natural and outdoor tourism drives the revival
Milan, 29 November 2022 – The in-person edition of the BIT – International Tourism Exchange will be held at the Allianz MiCo from Sunday 12 to Tuesday 14 February 2023, where the state of the industry's situation is reviewed every year. However, we can already draw a conclusion for 2022 and try to outline the future prospects.
Gradual return toward pre-Covid numbers
According to calculations made by the Bit Observatory based on ENIT, ISTAT, UNWTO and the Bank of Italy, in 2022 Italy will rank fourth in the world for flows from international tourism with revenues of 21.3 billion euro, up +22.7 percent over 2020. ENIT's insight into autumn indicates that in November our country has the highest saturation rate of facilities booked through OTAs among major European countries (37 %), while non-hotel saturation is estimated at 39%; in the same month, Italy has the highest increase in international airline bookings to the country, +65% over 2021 at 392 thousand.
Confirming interest in the Bel Paese in travel intentions for the coming months, with 9% of preferences Italy is second only to France (11%) and tied with Spain. 62% of respondents are planning intra-European travel in the winter season, and 70% are planning a trip in the next six months (+4% from the same period last year).
With regard to the international, the UNWTO - World Tourism Organization reports an acceleration of recovery that has now reached 65% of pre-pandemic levels in its most recent indicator. Monthly comparisons show the upward trend in detail: while in January international arrivals were 64% lower than in 2019, by September the difference had decreased to 27%. In the third quarter alone, international arrivals were estimated at 390 million, 50% of the total since the beginning of the year.
Europe continues to lead the bounce back. Between January and September, the region welcomed 477 million international arrivals, or 68% of the world total, hitting 81% of pre-pandemic levels. This is more than double the 2021 figure (+126 %), fueled mainly by strong demand from other regions of the world and, in particular, the United States. The third quarter performance was particularly robust, with arrivals accounting for 90% of the equivalent period in 2019.
New travel styles are fueling the recovery
While the gradual elimination or reduction of restrictions in almost all countries has certainly helped foster growth, the real boost seems to come from travelers' changes. Not surprisingly, the Sustainable Travel Report 2022 sponsored by Booking, which surveyed 30 thousand respondents in 32 countries, shows more conscious, sustainable and respectful choices throughout the travel experience, right from booking. 93% of Italians, and 81% on a global scale, consider sustainable travel important.
From the constant comparison with all the operators in the supply chains, the BIT and Fiera Milano analysis reveals different trends, but with a common denominator: above all, the new traveler wants to have “feel good” experiences. They may still involve the close-to-home vacation, or the travel-adventure that has been put off since before lock-downs: either way, the traveler is looking for nature, outdoor activities, and, above all, authentic experiences that make them feel in tune with the “genius loci”. An example of this is the slow tourism of walking trails, which are now expanding beyond spiritual trails to wellness-focused paths, or the wine and oil paths which are now conquering new specialties such as craft beer, while wineries and oil mills are also increasingly becoming open to hospitality based on the farm holiday model.
And since feeling good also requires feeling comfortable, we are witnessing a return of glamping, which, however, is also being joined by a desire for more dynamic, or even extreme, activities as a response to the enforced shutdown of the pandemic period: mountain biking is growing alongside bicycle touring, and with trekking comes climbing, free-climbing and bouldering (the art of climbing boulders), as well as activities that combine mind and spirit, such as aerial yoga, which is practiced while suspended on elastic bands, preferably in the open air.
At BIT 2023 new trends will be discussed in Bringing Innovation Into Travel, the event format that runs alongside the exposition path articulated in the three different areas: Leisure, BeTech and MICE Village.
For updated information: bit.fieramilano.it; @BitMilano