Tourism For Members

MAP: Which parts of Italy will get the most tourism this summer?

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected] • 22 Jun, 2022 Updated Wed 22 Jun 2022 12:18 CEST
MAP: Which parts of Italy will get the most tourism this summer?
The beach is going to be Italians’ favourite holiday destination in 2022. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Italy’s tourism sector is on its way to post-pandemic recovery. But how many visitors will the country get this summer - and where are they going? Here’s a look at the data.


The Covid-19 pandemic has literally battered the Italian tourism sector. In 2019, before the virus hit, some 96 million international tourists visited the country and tourism alone accounted for 13 percent of national GDP.

All that, of course, came to an abrupt halt in early 2020, when the country lost a staggering 120.6 billion euros because of travel restrictions and an estimated 337,000 people were put out of work.

Italian tourism recovered slightly in 2021, but visitor numbers were still far below the norm as many international travel requirements remained in place for much of the year. 


So far, 2022 seems to have brought about a much-awaited change in trend, with the end of nearly all Covid-related measures and the return of international visitors putting a smile back on the faces of many business owners and tourism workers. 

“2022 is going to be the year of our resurgence,” Italy’s tourism minister Massimo Garavaglia had told Corriere della Sera in April. The data gathered by market research institute Demoskopika seem to prove him right. 

Over 92 million people – both residents and international arrivals – are expected to travel to an Italian destination over the course of 2022, marking a 43 percent increase on last year.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Italy this summer

Italy, Lake Garda

Lake Garda is one of the most sought-after Italian destinations and is especially popular among international holidaymakers. Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP

Tourism this year is expected to be worth around 26 billion euros in tax contributions to state coffers. If confirmed, this would represent a 11.8 percent rise compared to 2021.

It nearly goes without saying that not all Italian regions will benefit equally, as both local and foreign holidaymakers will be spread unevenly across the stivale.

According to Demoskopika, the five most visited regions by total number of arrivals will be Veneto (15.2 million arrivals), Trentino-Alto Adige (11.3 m), Lombardy (10.1 m), Emilia-Romagna (9.8 m) and Tuscany (9.3 m).

Tourism to these areas alone is expected to generate a total of 16.5 billion euros, equal to around 62 percent of Italy’s prospective tourism revenue. 

Conversely, Umbria, Abruzzo, Calabria, Aosta Valley and Basilicata will be the five least visited regions, attracting just about 6.5 million visitors between them.

But, beyond regional differences, what are the single most sought-after Italian destinations?

Data collected by private research institute Zucchetti show that the three most popular holiday spots across the country are Lake Garda, Emilia-Romagna’s Adriatic Riviera and Puglia’s Salento peninsula.

Veneto’s coastline and Tuscany’s ‘Etruscan Coast’ beaches follow in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Interestingly, Lake Garda is the only top-five tourist destination to register more international bookings than national ones, with foreign visitors (mainly German, Dutch and American) making up about 84 percent of the tourism demand in the area.


Emilia-Romagna’s Riviera and the Salento area are also expected to welcome large numbers of foreign visitors, albeit in far smaller figures compared to Lake Garda (28 and 20 percent of the local demand respectively). 

Aside from seaside and lakeside destinations, major art cities are the next most popular vacation spot among stranieri.

According to Roberta Garibaldi, CEO of ENIT (Italian National Tourist Board), “art cities have suffered a lot over the past couple of years” but the data for the upcoming summer are “promising”.

Venice, Rialto bridge

Venice will be one of the most visited Italian art cities as it is expected to welcome 5.3 million foreign tourists. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Rome will lead the pack as it is set to receive 5.4 million foreign visitors (mostly from the US, UK and Spain), thus marking a whopping 239-percent increase on last year and contributing to 10.4 percent of Italy’s total international tourism. 

Venice will follow closely with a total of 5.3 million foreign tourists (23 percent of them will travel from Germany). 

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

Finally, Milan and Florence will sit in third and fourth place respectively, with the former set to welcome 2.8 million foreign nationals and the latter expected to receive 2.6 million.


But, art cities won’t be a hot commodity among foreign tourists alone as 18 percent of Italians are planning to spend the holidays in a città d’arte.

As for other popular holiday spots, Italians’ favourite destination will once again be the beach, with seaside locations expected to welcome 57 percent of local holidaymakers.

Nearly one in four (23 percent) will instead opt for a 'holiday in nature', travelling to the mountains, countryside or lakes.

Regardless of the chosen destination, it will be a very ‘patriotic’ summer for many Italians as, of the 30 million residents (equivalent to 51 percent of the national population) who are planning to go on holiday in the coming months, nine in 10 will stay in the country.


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