BIT – International Tourism Exchange heats up its engines ahead of the 2023 edition – at Allianz MiCo from February 12 to 14 – and confirms itself as a reference point for anticipating industry trends. Ahead of the summer season, the BIT Observatory has collected and analyzed the most interesting forecasts.
Italy leading the preferences of Italians and foreigners
What do potential travelers look for? A study commissioned by ENIT-National Tourism Agency and Human Company to the Piepoli Institute again this year confirms outdoor tourism among the most sought-after types of vacation. According to the study, more than one in two Italians have planned a vacation for this summer, and of these one in five is considering an outdoor vacation, with a preference for resorts and agritourism. And strictly in Italy: for nine out of ten respondents, the outdoor vacation will be in our country. On the podium are Puglia, Tuscany and Sardinia.
But even for “classic” tourism, the numbers are positive. According to data just published by ISNART and Unioncamere, in June, hotel rooms sold increased by +26% over 2021, particularly in art cities. And the return of traditional foreign visitors such as Germans is confirmed, up 32 percent. In addition to Germans, arrivals from Switzerland, Austria, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are also on the rise. The trend also remains positive for alternative hospitality: in May Airbnb recorded more than 11 million nights booked between June and August,+3.5 million over 2021 (+32%).
In addition to artistic cities, foreign travelers to Italy mainly seek small villages, seaside and mountain resorts but, above all, authentic experiences with a focus on food and wine tourism. The annual research by Coldiretti based on data from the Bank of Italy reports that in the first two months of 2022, foreign visitors more than doubled compared to last year: more than 2.5 million foreigners arrived in Italy, spending more than 3 billion euro. The estimate for the summer is to return to the pre-pandemic 33 million foreign visitors.
International trends and critical issues to be resolved
At international level, the 2022 Global Travel Trends Report by American Express Travel outlines four main trends. First, vacations will be increasingly motivational, and travelers will take more account of their impact, including social impact, on the destination. There is also a great return of family travel seen as an opportunity to experience quality time with loved ones after the pandemic. In parallel, a growing number of travelers want to take advantage of the return to near-normality to finally take their dream trip. Finally, experiential travel will move toward even greater immersion in local culture.
Overall, three-quarters of respondents say they plan to book at least one trip. Slowing the recovery could be air traffic issues – an estimated 16,000 flights in Europe alone will be canceled in August – and staff shortages. In Italy alone, FIPE-Confcommercio estimates that 40% of the nearly 400,000 workers required for the season will not be covered.
A picture that remains, however, substantially positive and that the BIT 2023 Observatory will continue to monitor in the coming months, in order to share with all operators in the supply chain data and information useful to support business growth, the historical vocation of the event. The forthcoming edition aims to further consolidate BIT’s role as a benchmark event in Italy, and among the first in Europe, for networking between Italian and international supply and demand, as well as for preview exploration of data, trends and educational moments in a rich schedule of events.
The BIT team is working on new proposals for the 2023 edition. Already confirmed to date are the Leisure areas with proposals from destinations and operators, BeTech for digital and social services, the MICE Village entirely dedicated to business travel, and Bit4Job for recruiting in the tourism sector. Also confirmed is the Bringing Innovation Into Travel format for events, which has enjoyed great success in recent years with a range of events from meetings with major international figures to a “toolbox” of practical tools for developing business.