Italy

Old favourites and new discoveries

Italy looks set for another good year on the German market as consumers seek alternative destinations in the Mediterranean.

April 27, 2017
Calabria offers attractive beaches and spectacular scenery.
Photo: Gettyimages

With 11.2 million visitors last year, Italy is an absolute top destination for German holidaymakers and prospects for this year looks equally positive. Italy is hoping to attract some 11.5 million German visitors this year, which would represent the sixth year in a row with steadily rising numbers.

Demand is being driven by various trends on the German market, including a switch from eastern to western Mediterranean destinations, an increase in more overland/self-drive holidays in nearby destinations, safety issues and a desire to discover new, alternative destinations. Tour operators have expanded their Italy programmes with more hotels and new flights to profit from higher demand.

The popular holiday region of Lake Garda, close to the Austrian border, remains a key destination, and various tour operators have added more hotels there to their Italy programmes. “For our customers, Lake Garda is still the self-drive destination with the greatest demand,” said Luca Picone-Chiodo, FTI’s Italy product manager. The Munich-based tour operator has a high 40% rise in bookings for the region. “It could be a record year for Lake Garda,” added Andreas Römmer, from Ameropa Reisen.

However, traditional holiday regions such as Lake Garda, Tuscany and the Adriatic coast are not always cheap. Indeed, prices for Italy holidays are slightly higher this year, according to Robin Wilbertz, TUI’s product manager for Italy. As a result, southern regions with lower prices are increasingly coming into focus for tour operators who have expanded capacity in key destinations.

Calabria, for example, is an attractive region with picturesque beaches and bays, as well as unspoilt nature and cultural variety. German tour operators have recognised the potential and are expanding their offerings. “We’ve expanded our hotel programme,” said DER Touristik product manager Stefanie Stotz. “Many hotels have been renovated in the last few years and now offer excursions, miniclubs for children, and beach services for inclusive prices.”

Sicily also offers a broad range of attractive resorts and coastal towns along with a rich cultural heritage. Tour operators have increased flights to Catania and added more hotels on the island. Demand, however, is mixed at present. FTI, for example, has a slight increase in bookings while Schauinsland is slightly below last year.

More positively, Tina Schmelzer, product manager for southern Europe specialist Olimar, which has expanded its Italy programme, commented: “Our portfolio in southern Italy is seeing good demand, with an upward trend.”

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