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Ciao Italy Tours’ owner says a growing number of US visitors want alternative Italian destinations. 

An increasing interest in alternative locations and in Italy’s culture

"There is an increasing interest in alternative locations as well as in Italy’s culture: from food and wine to motors, and of course history, architecture and art, all of which remain at the centre of what Americans want from Italy,” says Guido D'Ugo, owner of Ciao Italy Tours, the New York-based operator specialized in Italy.  

“The demand for alternative destinations is an unprecedented trend”

"Down the years we have sent many clients to Italy, and they have always returned delighted with their experience. However, for some time now, we have been noticing a significant evolution in demand. The increasing demand for alternative destinations is an unprecedented trend that I am convinced will continue to grow over time. 

Italy is a destination that contains many different destinations

“I have always maintained that Italy is a destination that contains many different destinations, because you can return to Italy twenty times, and each time you are going to discover something completely different.” 

Published in Tour operator

Buone Vacanze is changing its brand to become BV Hotels & Resorts.

Resorts and leisure properties, but also urban and business hotels

This new corporate vision reflects the desire to offer guests increasingly sophisticated and personalized experiences, as well as to position the product not just in the resorts and leisure tourism segment but also as an urban and business operator. The rebranding has also led to the creation of a new logo, while "Value spreads" is the new claim and philosophy of the brand. The colour too changes, making way for blue, a symbol of luxury and elegance designed to embody BV's two souls: business and leisure.

new website BV Hotels & Resorts

“We provide an unforgettable experience for guests”

"This rebranding represents a new stage for our company,- says President Franco Falcone. -We are excited to introduce BV Hotels & Resorts as our new identity although our mission, to provide an unforgettable experience for guests, remains unchanged. We will continue to focus on excellence, creativity and innovation to ensure that every stay with us is a valuable experience."

Six properties in cities and seaside locations

To date the company operates six properties: three city hotels in Rome, Assisi and Cosenza, plus three resorts in seaside locations in Calabria. In line with the rebranding, the group will also launch a new website www.bvhotels.it, with details on its facilities as well as useful information and tips.

Published in Hospitality

The Tuscan Via Francigena wants to reinvent itself, and the Tuscany Region is charting a new course for the historic road.  

A new body to manage the historical itinerary

Five years after the convention signed in 2020, a proposal has been put forward by  president Eugenio Giani and tourism councillor Leonardo Marras for a new body, run by a regional association, to manage the historical itinerary.  "Tuscany believes strongly in the valorization of the Via Francigena and in the “Comuni in Cammino” project,” says regional president Eugenio Giani. 

“A suggestive way to discover our region”

“Since 2009, the Region has invested over €20 million in the Via Francigena, bringing it to ideal levels of safety for travel on foot, bicycle, or horseback. It is a different, suggestive way to discover our region, its history and traditions, and I am happy that last December the state funds for the candidature of the road as a UNESCO heritage site were finally released. Tuscany is the lead region among the seven regions involved in this project.” 

The Francigena runs through five countries and 16 regions

The Francigena, with its 1,700 kilometres from Canterbury in England to Rome, and another 1,300 in its ideal continuation to Santa Maria di Leuca in Puglia, has been recognized by the European Council as a cultural itinerary. There are five countries and sixteen different regions involved on some one hundred and fifty stages of between 20 and 30 kilometres each. 

In Tuscany the road passes through 39 municipalities 

Religion is not the only dimension of the route, which is a melting pot of cultures and territories, as it is a slow walking, sustainable tourism product.  It crosses Tuscany for almost 400 kilometres passing through 39 municipalities, including Fucecchio, Lucca, Siena and Pontremoli.”

 

Published in Leisure

The 2022-2023 fiscal year of Hnh Hospitality concluded on 31 October with record revenues and a 15% profits and margins growth.

Heightened demand notably from the United States

The unprecedented figures topped the £100 million revenue mark for the first time. Direct management saw a notable surge, reaching £105.7 million, a 48% increase from 2022. Gross operating margins stood at £16.1 million, equating to 15%, reflecting a one-percentage-point rise over the previous year. Statutory net profit reached £6.4 million. The strong growth in both primary destinations, such as Rome, Milan, and Venice, and secondary cities like Verona, Bologna, and Trieste, was bolstered by heightened demand from foreign markets, notably the United States. 

“New openings have already been identified” 

In addition to the inauguration of Almar Giardino di Costanza in Sicily, 2023 saw the opening of Pullman Almar Timi Ama Resort & Spa in Villasimius, Sardinia, enhancing the luxury segment. 

Luca Boccato ceo hnh

“We'll remember 2023 as the year we topped the £100 million turnover milestone, but it's not just that,- said Luca Boccato, the company's CEO. -It was a year marked by sales consolidation, with employment levels returning to 2019 levels. However, the average price has soared by nearly 40% compared to the same period. Moreover, with the partnership of Fondo Italiano d'Investimento and Euler Capital, we've bolstered our strengths. This year we want to explore new avenues for growth and pursue diversified commercial development in a multi-brand approach. We look forward to soon announcing new openings that we have already identified.”

 

Published in Business

Foreign markets, and in particular the German-speaking countries are showing lots of promise for Grimaldi Lines. 

“Crossing Italy is a way to reach our ports of departure” 

"For passengers from the German-speaking countries crossing Italy is the way to reach our ports of departure and from there embark for the final destination of the journey, for example from Livorno to Olbia or Palermo, but also to Tunisia, - says Francesca Marino, head of  Grimaldi Lines’ passenger department.  -There is also strong demand from Poland and the Czech Republic, using Italy to reach the final destination by ferry.”  

In line with 2023 prices and still affordable

In terms of costs, “We are in line with 2023 prices: of course, in the August peak prices are higher, but that is natural. Maritime transport is still affordable and, as we have many departures, the dynamic pricing gives the market the opportunity to find the option that best suits their needs.” 

“The port of Brindisi has grown” 

In addition to the connections to Sardinia and Sicily, the network to Greece includes the recent debut of Europalink "which increases the capacity offered on the line to Greece by around 20% and joins the connections already operated by Kydon Palace on the Brindisi-Igoumenitsa route. We have great expectations for Greece. The port of Brindisi has grown a great deal and Greece is a very popular destination, and not just for people from southern Italy: the connections are also attractive for those leaving from regions further north, who use the car and then switch to the ferry."

Published in Transportation

Spanish airline Volotea has further expanded its network from Verona for summer 2024 with the addition of five new destinations, four of which are international.

A new Airbus A320 aircraft at Verona’s Catullo airport

In total Volotea offers 20 destinations from Verona, 11 of which are international. From this year, Verona, a UNESCO heritage site since 2000 but famous worldwide for being the city of Romeo and Juliet, can also be reached from Madrid, Prague, Copenhagen, and Valencia. And to support the expanded network Volotea has also positioned a new Airbus A320 aircraft at Verona’s Catullo airport, thus employing another 30 people directly, with over 170 indirectly.

“We are concentrating our growth in Verona this year” 

“Verona is reconfirmed as an airport of strategic importance for Volotea's development plans, – said international market director Valeria Rebasti.  -We continue to work in close synergy with the airports of Verona and Venice, to offer passengers direct and fast connections to an increasingly large number of destinations. In Verona, where we are concentrating our growth this year, we operate flights ranging from Greece to Spain, from France to Germany, as well as from Denmark and the Czech Republic. The nine Italian destinations should also not be forgotten with the new additions of Comiso and Salerno, gateway to the Amalfi Coast, starting next autumn."

Published in Transportation

E-Dway offers eco-sustainable tours with electric vehicles in Tuscany.

Tours on electric Vespas and Birò smart cars

The tours are made even more engaging by using the E-Dway Experience app, which customers can download at the time of rental. The app, which is available in five languages, allows customers to create customized itineraries, enjoy experiences and easily access videos and information about monuments, churches, artisan boutiques, typical dishes, outdoor activities and locations with the best views. E-Dway's offer includes electric Vespa tours with a picnic in the Chianti hills, farm tours with tastings of typical local products, fat cross biking in the countryside, drive&cook tours starting in Florence, and tours of medieval castles and wine cellars. The new entry this year are the tours with Birò smart cars. These are city tours with the nippy and easy-to-drive two-seater electric car.

“Eco-sustainable experiences in full autonomy”

"E-Dway is a project born out of a great love for Tuscany,- says Nadia Mangiavacchi of E-Dway. -Our mission is to make our areas known through eco-sustainable experiences and in full autonomy. For example, exploring the beautiful area around Florence and Chianti in an innovative way, by which we mean respecting nature, the local culture and traditions thanks to our eco-sustainable itineraries. Then there is the Via del Mugello, a mix of culture, gastronomic traditions, relaxation, sport and shopping. Our suppliers are organic or biodynamic companies that focus on sustainability, which we see as the enhancement of local producers and concerns that keep age-old traditions alive."

vespa tours with pic nic tuscany

Vespa Tours in the Chianti Hills

E-Dway’s Vespa Tour leads to Impruneta, from where there are views over the city of Florence, and continues on to the Luiano Farm, where bikers will find picnic baskets with Tuscan sandwiches, wine, water and dessert. It then moves on to Greve in Chianti, a beautiful medieval village famous for its excellent wine, and it concludes with a visit to Montefioralle to admire the typical stone alleyways and picturesque stone houses in this little gem. With breathtaking views over the Tuscan countryside, this little walled town is also famous as the birthplace of Amerigo Vespucci, the explorer of the new world.

Published in Experiences & Tips

Finnair raises the stakes in Venice with nine weekly flights from Helsinki.

Daily fights in winter 2024-2025

During the summer months the Helsinki-Venice flights will go from 7 to 8, to 9 in the peak period and the connection between the two cities is also confirmed for the 2024-25 winter season, with daily flights. This is an important innovation for Finnair which aims to support the growing demand for flights from the Northeast of Italy, making Finland for Italian travellers and Italy for Finnish customers accessible all year round.  

“High demand from travellers departing from the Northeast of Italy”

“Since 2006 Finnair has been operating at Venice airport with seasonal connections to and from Helsinki,- says Javier Roig Sanchez, Finnair market director for Europe.  - Given the high demand from travellers departing from the Northeast of Italy, we have decided to extend operations by offering daily flights also in the 2025 winter season."

Connections through Helsinki for Asia

“The intensification of flights between Venice and Helsinki and their extension into the winter season is important not only for flows with Finland, but for the strategic contribution to connect with medium and long-haul destinations - underlines Camillo Bozzolo, aviation development director at Save Group. -In particular, the specificity of Helsinki airport as one of the benchmark European hubs for connections with Asia is a great selling point for our airport."

Published in Transportation

It’s time to catch the spring blooms at the Gardens of Castel Trauttmansdorff, and also the temporary exhibition spotlighting succulent plants. Dubbed "Succu... what?" this exhibition showcases the remarkable diversity and ingenious survival tactics of plants like cacti, euphorbias, aloes, and agaves, highlighting their practicality in providing delectable fruits, medicinal compounds, durable fibres, and even liqueurs. 

Evening guided tours and live music

Visitors can delve into the plant world of the Gardens alongside an expert guide. From April to May, the guided tour "Love in Bloom - Eros in the Plant World" lasting 120 minutes, and costing €11 (excluding the entrance fee) requires booking at least three weeks in advance. And throughout the season the Gardens have a diverse lineup of events including "Evenings in the Gardens" featuring the World Music Festival with high-calibre artists. On Fridays in June, July, and August, the Gardens will stay open until 11 pm for "Trauttmansdorff in the Evening". These evening guided tours will unveil new facets of the botanical garden bathed in the soft twilight glow, and from mid-June, the Café della Palme near the Water Lilies Pond will host extended aperitif sessions with live music.

Captivating vistas and the castle of the Empress Sissi

Spread across four thematic areas, the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle on over 12 hectares, are a natural amphitheatre, spanning over a 100-meter altitude difference, offering captivating vistas of the surrounding mountains and the city of Merano at every turn, seamlessly integrating into the surrounding natural environment. At the heart of the Gardens stands Castel Trauttmansdorff, once the winter residence of the beloved Empress Elisabeth, better known as Sissi. Today, the castle houses the Touriseum, the South Tyrolean provincial tourism museum narrating 250 years of Alpine tourism history.

Published in Leisure

Maggiore, the rent-a-car brand part of the Avis Budget Group, is launching a new offer aimed at tour operators and travel designers.

A new web platform with immediate confirmation

Designed to offer advantages and exclusive rates and make your trip to discover all the wonders of Italy even more unforgettable. Maggiore is offering its business partners the possibility of booking a car rental in Italy from a new web platform, with immediate confirmation. The platform provides them with full inclusive products with unlimited mileage, eliminating the end customer's responsibility in the event of damage or theft and offering clear and competitive net rates. Also, reservations can be canceled without penalties.

Maggiore1200x1200AlfaRomeoTonale

From city cars to spacious minibuses and nine-seaters

Maggiore’s large fleet consists of 16 car groups ranging from comfortable city cars to more spacious minibuses, up to nine-seaters for groups of families and friends. There are also electric and hybrid cars in line with the brand's sustainability strategy, to meet the needs of operators and allow them to offer customers the perfect rental experience.

Over 200 rental offices in Italy

In addition, those who choose Maggiore as their rental partner can count on the brand's widespread presence thanks to more than 200 rental offices distributed throughout Italy in airports, railway stations and major cities. All they have to do is access the dedicated page on the brand's website and fill in the request form, at the end of which they will receive an exclusive code to access all the offers.

For information: https://www.maggiore.it/en/area/tour-operators/the-programme.html

Published in Transportation
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