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Tourism in Italy set to smash record this year

Tourism in Italy set to smash record this year
May 11
20:54 2023

Rome, May 11 (IANS) Tourism in Italy this year is set to smash record levels set before the coronavirus pandemic, new data showed, putting the sector’s recovery ahead of pace in Europe as a whole.

Provisional data from the start of the year shows a dramatic improvement in the sector compared to the same period a year earlier, Sandro Cruciani from Italy’s National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) told Parliament.

Cruciani told the Chamber of Deputies that the number of overnight stays by tourists in January and February was up more than 45 per cent compared to same period a year ago, with a larger increase in foreign tourists (more than 70 per cent) than domestic travellers (29 per cent).

“If the data for the coming months confirms this trend, it will be possible to see a full recovery and even to exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2023,” Cruciani said.

The last full year before the pandemic, 2019, was a record year for Italian tourism.

The prediction that 2023 will overtake 2019 “must push us to do more and more, intervening to favour policies of seasonal adjustment and overcome the phenomenon of over-tourism”, said Tourism Minister Daniela Santanche after Cruciani’s speech.

Tourism represents a major element of the Italian economy, accounting for around 13 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2019.

The country was Europe’s third leading tourism market that year, behind only France and Spain in total tourism arrivals.

The crash of the tourism sector due to the pandemic contributed to a 9.04 per cent contraction of the Italian economy in 2020, the year that bore the greatest brunt of Covid-19.

The sector then began a slow recovery in 2021, ISTAT said, followed by a large increase so far in 2023.

However, the tourism sector in the rest of Europe is recovering more slowly.

A report from the European Travel Commission (ETC) shows international tourist arrivals in Europe as a whole were around 18 per cent below the 2019 level through this year as a fourth of destinations covered by the ETC report recorded arrivals more than 10 per cent below 2019 levels.

The ETC says the war between Russia and Ukraine, which began in February 2022, “continues to hinder travel sector recovery in Northern and Eastern European destinations”.

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