• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

How the weak euro is boosting tourism to Italy

Angela Giuffrida · 2 Feb 2015, 16:52

Published: 02 Feb 2015 16:52 GMT+01:00

The strength of both sterling and the US dollar against the euro will especially entice more people from the UK and the US to Italy and other eurozone countries, while visitors from China are also benefiting, Paul Rickard, research consultant at the European Tourism Association, told The Local.

The euro has weakened over the past year but fell to its lowest level in nine years after the European Central Bank announced a stimulus package in mid-January.

As of Monday, one euro was worth £0.75 and $1.13.

The devaluation has made holidays in the eurozone about 18 percent cheaper for those coming from the UK, and one fifth cheaper for those from America, Rickard added.

“Countries like Italy and Spain are offering better value for visitors, with the obvious economic response being an uptick in demand,” he said.

“But it also depends on how quickly currency movements shift over time. In time, we’d also expect the lower oil price to be factored into cost, through cheaper flights, for example.”

After a lacklustre 2014, David Brenner, who owns VillasFor2, a holiday rental business in Abruzzo, told The Local that January was the best month ever for bookings since the business opened in 2009.

Most of those bookings have come from the UK, although some were also from other European holidaymakers.

The weaker euro means that staying with VillasFor2 costs ten percent less than it did last year.

“I’m not sure whether you’d put the increase [in bookings] down to the highly favourable exchange rate, or more money being available for holidays in the UK and EU than perhaps was the case last year, as the economic situation improves - at least in northern Europe,” he said.

“Although it is true that some of our guests have asked to pay their holiday costs right away - so they can take advantage of the great exchange rate - rather than the usual practice of paying a deposit on booking and the balance a few weeks before they arrive.”

Meanwhile, a flurry of post-Christmas inquiries for holiday villas in Le Marche is yet to turn into bookings.

“Maybe people are waiting until the value reaches €1.45 again, which seems possible after reading some of the reports in the financial press,” said Marina Webster, the owner of Sei Camini, a villa in the region.

“It would be great if people realized how much better value we are than last year, but so far it is not making a difference. I do hope it’s just people booking later than not at all.”

Story continues below…

Weaker euro or not, Italy is still one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, according to a report last week from the United Nations Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The bel paese welcomed 48 million visitors in 2013, putting it in fifth place among the world’s most visited countries. That year Italy earned $44 billion from tourism, according to the report.

The World Expo, which gets underway in Milan on May 1st, is already proving to be a boon for Italy. Organizers said last week that eight million tickets have been sold, a third of the projected total.

Five million have been bought outside Italy, with China having snapped up a total of one million.

The city also ranked number one in the New York Times' 2015 list of "52 Places to Go"

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Angela Giuffrida (angela.giuffrida@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy has Europe's oldest population: Eurostat
Italy is home to the highest proportion of over-80-year-olds in the EU. File photo: Pexels

13 of every 200 people in Italy are aged over 80 - the highest proportion in the EU.

Italy police get lunch for poor woman 'forced to steal food'
The stolen goods only amounted to €14. File photo: Pexels

The woman had stolen food worth €14 from a supermarket.

Renzi: UK won't get special treatment post-Brexit
The UK can't expect an easy ride post-Brexit, Renzi warned. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian PM Matteo Renzi said the UK won't get more rights than other countries outside the EU after voting to leave the bloc.

Looters steal computers from quake town's new school
Almost a third of the schools in the area are now unusable. The above photo is of a school in Amatrice: AFP

The school had only been opened two weeks ago, after the town's existing two schools were left unusable by the earthquake.

Here's what Americans in Italy think about the US elections
The candidates shake hands before the debate. Photo: AFP

Four American expat voters from across the political spectrum talk about the issues which influenced their vote, and how it feels watching the elections from Italy.

Italy scraps bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup
Italy's rugby team at the Six Nations earlier this year. Photo: AFP

The move is a result of Rome's decision not to bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Italy's migrant centres in crisis amid money worries
A man and his daughter in a Sardinian centre for refugees. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The centres are fuller than ever - but the government has stopped paying.

Berlusconi at 80: My regrets and future plans
Berlusconi turns 80 on Thursday. Photo: AFP

"Politics was never really my passion," says Italy's longest-serving post-war premier.

Italy 'held naval manoeuvres with Iran' in strategic strait
The Strait of Hormuz. File photo: AFP

The Italian ambassador called the port call "a positive sign".

Northern Italian region approves 'anti-mosque' laws
One of Italy's few purpose-built mosques, in Rome. File photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Similar laws in other regions have been scrapped for being anti-constitutional.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,748
jobs available