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Italy set for summer tourism boom as bookings increase again

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Italy set for summer tourism boom as bookings increase again
Summer tourists crowd Rome’s Trevi Fountain. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Italy is expected to receive some 216 million tourists this summer as visitor numbers continue to rise - but not everyone is pleased.

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Italy's post-pandemic tourism boom is set to continue this year. The country expects to welcome 216 million tourists between June and August 2024, a 1.5 percent increase on last year's numbers, according to a report published by Italian tourist operators' association Assoturismo Confesercenti on Friday.

The forecast predicts a continued upward trend in tourist numbers for 2024, following a 3.8 percent increase in the first five months of the year compared to the same period in 2023.

MAP: The parts of Italy getting the most tourism in 2024

Foreign visitors are expected to drive the rise in demand, accounting for an estimated 105 million stays - a 2.5 percent jump since last year - while the number of Italians going on holiday in Italy is predicted to increase by just 0.5 percent.

Bookings from Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Belgium and the UK were all up, according to the survey of 1,512 hospitality entrepreneurs conducted for Assoturismo by the Florence Tourist Study Center.

Outside Europe, the increased interest primarily came from US nationals, while bookings from Canada remained stable and those from China, Japan and India were slightly down.

Holidaymakers crowd the beach in San Vito Lo Capo, northern Sicily.
Holidaymakers crowd the beach in San Vito Lo Capo, northern Sicily. Photo by ludovic MARIN / AFP.

“Tourism once again confirms that it is among the country's most resilient economic sectors,” said Assoturismo President Vittorio Messina, crediting the government's international promotion efforts and investment in the sector for the improved numbers.

He added that Italy must continue to update and diversify its offering "to remain in line with the demands and preferences of a tourism that is increasingly international and attentive to sustainability, but also increasingly influenced by climate change".

READ ALSO: The Italian tourist destinations bringing in restrictions this summer

Italy is gearing up to receive even more tourists in 2025 for the Vatican's Jubilee Year, with 25 million more visitors expected to arrive in Rome alone.

While most of those working in the country's tourism sector welcome the trend, others are less happy, with locals in some parts of the country increasingly complaining of being pushed out of their homes by high rents and unlivable conditions.

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Data recently gathered by Rome-based research institute Demoskopika revealed those areas of the country that are the most overwhelmed by tourism, with Rimini, Venice, Verona, Bolzano, Trento, Naples, Milan, Rome and Florence topping the list.

To combat the effects of overtourism on local populations, officials in increasing numbers of tourist hotspots are bringing in permanent or seasonal restrictions, from quotas on holiday lets to booking requirements for popular roads and trails.

READ ALSO: What's being done to save Florence from mass tourism?

"It is essential to implement tourism management policies that include time and number limitations for accessing the most at-risk places, along with strategies to promote alternative destinations that are less well-known but equally rich in culture and beauty," said Demoskopika President Raffaele Rio.

"It is time to act with awareness and responsibility, to ensure that tourism continues to be a source of cultural enrichment and economic development without becoming a burden for future generations."

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