Tourism in Italy has rebounded from the pandemic slowdown in ways that exceed any predictions. The country’s mid-August Ferragosto holiday is sold-out as foreign tourists have flocked back to Italy and Italians themselves are traveling more than anticipated. The post-pandemic recovery seems to be in full swing, CNA Turismo e Commercio said Thursday. Already the comeback trend was noticed around the Easter holidays, which proved to be a ‘testing ground’ when popular cities like Venice, Florence, and Rome experienced higher than anticipated numbers of foreign, Italian and European tourists as well.
Between August 12 and 21, it said, over 10 million tourists will stay in Italian accommodations. The total will rise to 15 million people if Italians spending the holiday in their second homes is added in. The exceptions to these numbers are the Japanese, Chinese and Russians whose presence is for the most part lacking at the present time. Most prominent are young people and first-time visitors to the country.
Of those who will stay in hotels, B&B, Air B&B or agriturismo facilities, CNA Turismo e Commercio said, there will be 5.5 million Italians and 4.5 million foreigners. Overall spending, direct and indirect, should reach some 3.5 billion euros.
Italians are mostly heading for the beach, mountains and spas while foreigners, especially extra-European ones, will be more attracted by art cities and traditional or historic borghi, said the survey.
According to Luigi Polito, owner of Imperatore Travel World, a tour operator specializing in southern Italy, the South is enjoying more than pre-pandemic numbers and Ischia is overrun by American tourists, who are finally getting over the pandemic-imposed fears and precautions. The boom is spreading not only to prime locations such as the fabled Amalfi Coast but also to Sardegna and hotels and other accommodations are not only sold out but overbooked. Indeed, some records are being set in other parts of Italy as well. In Rimini, for example, 46% of the tourists were foreign, a record that had not been broken since 1976. In the Museo della Scienza e tecnologia in Milan, during the weekend of Ferragosto (August 15) out of 5,400 visitors, 72% did not speak Italian.
What is causing this new boom in tourists? Politi believes it is related to easier and faster transportation options: the recently inaugurated New York- Naples direct flight, the high-speed train from Fiumicino, and more scheduled domestic flights as well. For the Americans, an added enticement is the favorable exchange between the Euro and the dollar.
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