Europe and U.S. Still Key Markets of Italian Tourism Industry

romeEurope and the U.S. remain the biggest markets for inbound Italian tourism as the country struggles to keep up with the global growth in visitor numbers, according to research from Euromonitor International.

Euromonitor International research will show nearly 12 million Germans visited Italy in 2012, making it the number one market for the country, followed by nearly four million visitors from the UK.

RELATED DEAL: Tours Specialists Inc. Offers Thanksgiving FAM Trip to Italy

The U.S. was in third place with about three million visitors, roughly the same as in 2011. The U.S. remains the only non European market in the top 10 for visitors to Italy while both Poland and Russia broke the million mark in 2012.

The numbers mean international arrivals to Italy grew by 0.5 percent in 2012 while it is predicted they will grow a further 1 percent in 2013. The numbers are up as a result of growth in the world economy and tourism flows, although the country’s predicted international tourists of 2.1 percent from 2012 to 2017 falls short of the global prediction of 4 percent during the same period.

RELATED: MLT University - How to Sell Ireland and Italy

The number of Italians traveling abroad has remained stable year on year with nearly 20 million opting to do so in 2012, as short haul trips to European destinations remain the most popular. However, outbound expenditure declined by 2 percent as the country saw its real GDP decline by 2.4 percent in 2012. 

This decline in real GDP is expected to decline again in 2013, but by less, to 1.8 percent, as the country continues to feel the bite of recession and government-imposed austerity measures. It is hoped the Italian economy will come out of recession in 2014 following growth in Western European markets, Euromonitor says.

While the country’s economy has been struggling, there has been a growth in online travel sales during the same period. In 2012 the market generated more than €6,000 million in sales and is predicted to break the €7,000 million mark in 2013. By 2017 the figure is predicted to be touching €10,000 million.