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American Airlines is poised for a record-breaking summer with 11 daily US-Italy flights.  

This summer five US hubs - New York JFK, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Charlotte - will have direct links to Italy including the debut of the new Philadelphia-Naples, along with the restoration of the second daily flight between New York and Rome.

“Our transatlantic network is expanding”

“Our transatlantic network is expanding with new flights to Naples and an additional daily flight from JFK to Rome,- said José Freig, vice president international operations. -With 11 daily flights between Italy and the United States, American's summer schedule provides passengers with easier access for their summer vacations.” Visitors from the United States will have ample opportunities to explore ancient ruins, glide along the canals of Venice, bask in the sun along the Amalfi Coast, savour authentic Neapolitan pizza, or immerse themselves in Italy's latest fashion trends.

The JFK-Rome will extend the season by nearly four months

This summer, American Airlines will serve Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Naples, and Venice. The airline operates year-round flights between Milan and New York, Rome and Philadelphia, and Rome and Dallas-Fort Worth.

The daily seasonal connection between New York JFK and Rome will commence on 31 March. The reintroduction of the second daily flight between JFK and Rome will begin on 5 June and operate until 25 October, extending the season by nearly four months.

The seasonal Chicago-Venice returns on 5 June

For the first time since 2019, American will reintroduce seasonal Chicago-Venice flights on 5 June with a Boeing 787-9 capable of accommodating up to 285 passengers. Additionally, this summer the airline will kick off the season for flights to Venice early with a non-stop service to Philadelphia, starting on the 4 April.

Published in Transportation

The Laqua Collection has reopened the 5-star Le Cattedrali Relias in Valleandona in Piedmonte, with Cannavacciuolo’s Le Cattedrali Asti restaurant. 

Le Cattedrali Relias has a Cannavacciuolo restaurant

The 5-star luxury Le Cattedrali Relais boasts 13 spacious rooms and suites ranging from 43 to 133 square metres. Guests can indulge in amenities including a lounge bar and a wellness area featuring an outdoor swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath, and vitarium. However, the standout feature of the Relais is undoubtedly the Cannavacciuolo Le Cattedrali Asti restaurant, complemented by an extensive cellar housing over 2,000 labels from across Italy, with a notable focus on Piedmontese wines. All of this is set in natural surroundings, including a park with a small open-air theatre. To complete the external offerings, the property also has a padel and pickleball court, and a helicopter landing pad is available for guests.

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A harmonious interplay between lightness and grandeur

“I drew inspiration from nature in conceptualizing the property,” says Livio Negro, owner of Le Cattedrali by Laqua Collection. “My vision was to create a harmonious interplay between lightness and grandeur, authenticity and beauty within this space. Today, the graceful forms of the Relais, often mirroring those found in nature, seamlessly blend with the surrounding woods, pathways, scents, and colours, embodying the diverse and captivating essence of this region.”

“Le Cattedrali Relais is a beacon of excellence and a source of pride for the entire region”

The management of the establishment is entrusted to Massimo Chiappo Buratti, a seasoned hotel manager with over 25 years of international experience spanning Switzerland, China, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Buratti, who is deeply passionate about food and wine, is constantly on the lookout for new trends and innovative ideas to enhance the sector. “From its inception, Le Cattedrali Relais has positioned itself as a beacon of excellence and a source of pride for the entire region. The creation of this establishment has involved numerous local businesses and professionals, significantly impacting the entrepreneurial landscape of Asti. This project stands as a unique testament, owing to its distinctive location and the unparalleled quality of its spaces, making it a rare gem on the international stage.” 

Published in Food&Wine

Turnover grows for the Belstay group, which closed 2023 with a total of €19 million across its four hotels in Milan, Mestre, and Rome. 

“In 2024 we will focus on the potential of the brand”

This a 25% increase over the pre-Covid era and is attributed partly to a more than 30% increase in average revenues per available room (RevPAR) compared to the city market benchmarks. Additionally, the average employment rate has surpassed expectations, reaching over 70%. “2024 will focus on an operational readiness to tap into the potential of the brand,- says Belstay CEO, Roberto Di Tullio. -Our aim is to boost turnover, primarily by increasing average prices and enhancing our restaurant under the Seguimi brand. And we be putting emphasis on the MICE sector and new summer events.”

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Guests of over 50 different nationalities

In 2023, approximately a thousand events were hosted, with the Rome Aurelia and Milan Assago hotels in the spotlight. These events largely involved companies in the pharmaceutical, training, and beauty sectors. Belstay welcomed guests of over 50 different nationalities, with foreign clients at 68% of the total. Italy remains the primary market with 32%, followed by the United States at 7%, while Latin American visitors contribute significantly to the leisure segment, which now represents 22% of the total.

Enhancing services and adding two swimming pools

Looking ahead to 2024, plans include enhancing the Seguimi brand's catering services, opening two swimming pools in Linate and Venezia Mestre, and expanding the events and leisure areas. There are also ambitions to target cities such as Naples, Turin, Florence, Verona, or Bologna, with the goal of having ten to twelve hotels. 

Published in Hospitality

Urbino is a small and magnificent hilltop Renaissance town in the Marche region. 

Perfect for a day trip

Just half an hour inland from the seaside resort of Pesaro, and one of the most important centres of the Italian Renaissance, Urbino has preserved intact its ancient charm and architectural heritage. It can easily be visited in one day, and the best itinerary starts in the historical centre at the Porta Valbona gate in the old 16th-century defensive walls, then moving on to the Ducal Palace and the Cathedral.

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Priceless works of art in the Marche National Gallery

The Ducal Palace is one of the most magnificent examples of the Italian Renaissance and is also home to the Marche National Gallery. Building on it started in 1444 on a design by Duke Federico da Montefeltro, who wanted his palace to surpass all other princely residences in Italy, thus making Urbino the prince's Ideal City. Its splendid gallery has one of the most important art collections from the Renaissance period, including many priceless paintings by Raphael, Piero della Francesca and Titian.

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Raphael was born and worked in Urbino

The famous painter Raphael was born in Urbino in 1483 and spent his childhood training in his father, Giovanni Santi's, workshop which is now located on the ground floor of the Casa Raffaello house. With works related to Raphael's life and times, on the first floor of this muesum, there are copies of his paintings and various tributes by other artists. In the bedroom there is a fresco depicting the Madonna and Child, considered to be a youthful work done with his father, and in the small courtyard a well and a wash basin where the great painter, like his father before him, ground the colours for his masterpieces.

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 For information: www.comune.urbino.pu.it 

Published in Cities & Regions

The Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany has reopened, unveiling a comprehensive renovation of nine of its eleven private villas. 

Nestled in the heart of the Val D'Orcia park, a UNESCO-protected site, the estate spans over 2,000 hectares with roots tracing back approximately 900 years. Featuring historical landmarks like the ruins of a 12th-century castle, a 14th-century medieval church, the Borgo historic village now serves as the resort's focal point.  Managed by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, the property has 42 suites, with the 11 villas positioned at its centre.

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Each villa has a Land Rover Defender or a 4x4 off-road vehicle

These villas are distinctive private residences, and each one exudes a unique identity. With heated infinity pools, kitchens designed by Florentine artisan Riccardo Barthel, and terraces and gardens overlooking the picturesque landscape, they offer a bespoke experience. A novel addition for the 2024 season is the inclusion of a seven-seater Land Rover Defender or a 4x4 off-road vehicle with each villa, allowing guests to explore the region and the estate at their leisure.

A Michelin-star eatery and Italy’s only private golf club

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The Club Golf Ph credits: Kevin Murray

Initially conceived as a haven for wine and gastronomy enthusiasts, the property has two restaurants: Osteria la Canonica and the Campo del Drago, a Michelin-starred eatery helmed by chef Matteo Temperini. Complementing these culinary delights is a spa in earth tones and natural hues, along with an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf. As the only private golf club in Italy, it provides exclusive access for Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco guests. The estate also has the historic cellar where the famous Brunello di Montalcino red wine is crafted. The resort's operational period will extend until 7 January 2025, and it has an exciting holiday programme brimming with engaging initiatives.

Published in Hospitality

An excellent 2024 was predicted by the travel industry at the ITB Berlin, despite global crises.

Exhibitors from 170 countries attended

The industry displayed confidence, with people’s desire to travel appearing unabated. The most important topics at last week’s event were the growing importance of AI, the shortage of skilled labour and climate justice. The world’s leading travel trade show put a clear focus on shaping the future and once again underlined its role as the leading international platform for business, innovation and networking. Diverse and globally represented, more than 5,500 exhibitors from 170 countries illuminated the three business days, occupying all 27 halls at the Berlin exhibition grounds.

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No organization or company can ignore AI 

AI and its potential uses were a much-discussed topic. For the first time, the ITB Berlin Convention hosted a dedicated AI Track, which was very well received by the event’s 24,000 attendees. It was generally agreed that no organization or company could any longer ignore AI. 

Early bookings are expected for the summer

Participants also agreed that it was impossible to ignore climate justice and the skills shortage, for which there were promising solutions. The attendees at ITB Berlin were able to return home in positive expectation of this year’s developments and can look ahead to excellent business and a large volume of early bookings, especially for summer 2024.

A look ahead to ITB Berlin 2025: host country Albania

Albania, an emerging destination with great potential, is the host country of ITB Berlin 2025 which will take place as a B2B event again from Tuesday to Thursday, 4 to 6 March 2025 on the Berlin exhibition grounds.

Published in MICE & Events

The Accor Tribe brand will make its Italian debut at Milan Malpensa.  

Family rooms and a heated rooftop pool

The Accor lifestyle brand is due to debut at Milan Malpensa, under an agreement with the Italian Amapa company which will manage the hotel. With 240 rooms, including 18 family rooms, the hotel will also have a gym, and a heated rooftop pool. The central social hub of the Tribe brand will also include a café bar, a Grab & Go corner, freely accessible lounges and co-working spaces.

“We are excited to put Italy on our map”

Along with custom-designed furniture, artwork and objects, each room will have a 55-inch Chromecast television, USB charging points at accessible heights, a Lavazza coffee machine, tea, bottled water and Kevin Murphy brand bathroom products. “After recent growth on the German and Hungarian markets, we are excited to put Italy on our map. Together with our historic partner Amapa and the hotel team led by general manager Simona Calabrese, we are eager to welcome our first guests to Milan," says Pauline Oster, vice president Tribe Europe and North Africa.

Published in Hospitality

Visit Emilia, promotes the provinces of Parma, Piacenza, and Reggio Emilia, and at the ITB in Berlin we spoke to its president Simone Fornasari. 

“We are in the land of the Food Valley and experiential tourism” 

“When we talk about Emilia we talk about the Food Valley. Emilia is a true Italian gastronomic treasure, even though it has so much more to offer, as it also boasts a great natural, historical, artistic and cultural heritage. We are in the land of the Slow Mix, and experiential tourism is a perfect fit for us. To date we have three main product networks: the Food and Wine network, the Culture and Castles network, and the Spa and Outdoor network,” adds Fornasari.


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The main markets are Germany, Switzerland, France and the US 

"In recent years the pattern of tourism has changed a lot, especially following the health emergency of the pandemic. Now it is not only Italians who come to discover our region, we also get many foreign visitors from Germany, Switzerland, France, and America. Foreign visitors are growing more in percentage terms and, from the data we are currently collecting, the projection for the next few years sees this trend constantly growing.”  

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Three networks and over 500 operators

Over the next five years Visit Emilia will continue to invest in what it has achieved this far.

“In addition to our food and wine heritage - in Emilia alone we have 20% of Italy’s protected-label products - we also have five great cultural cities. We are also investing in the region’s nature because we see that it is increasingly sought after. So, the first thing is to consolidate what we have done this far, and the second is to continue to promote sustainable and experiential nature products. We have three networks and over 500 operators, and we want to put each operator in a position of being prepared so that they can promote first their own product and then those of the other members. Networking is fundamental, and we have seen that it is a winning card, because anyone who comes to Emilia and stays a night in Parma or Piacenza or Reggio Emilia or in our hills can then go on to visit all of our region.”    

 

Published in Cities & Regions

Matteo della Valle, passengers sales & marketing staff director GNV, who we met at the ITB in Berlin, told us they are aiming for a very positive season.  

2023 registered a slowdown after April

"We anticipate a positive season. Already 2023 was good overall, although the entire local transport sector had a similar trend, i.e. a strong push on bookings until April, and then a slowdown. This was due to various factors, especially the return of traffic to more exotic countries, on medium and long-haul routes, but also the economic situation and its impact on Italian families.”

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“Germany is in a recession with limited spending power”

“In 2024 we expect a positive trend, for now we are a little above last year in terms of bookings. Of course, the strategy is to keep the course of bookings high through the summer season as well. There are some difficulties, for example in Germany, which is in recession for the first time since the Second World War. And so with limited spending capacity. But I must say that I feel confident. sales are moving. GNV is coming up with important capacity increases on four of the six main markets.”

What do you expect from the two new ships, Sirius and Auriga?

"It is a beautiful message from the shipowner that he continues to invest in GNV. It is significant that in 2019 we had 16 ships, today we have 28. In contrast to the passenger transport sector which had to deal with Covid, we have now grown both in the number of ships and passengers. As for the two new ships, we will put one on the Genoa-Palermo, and the other on the Genoa-Olbia. 

What are your sales channels?

"Our channels are, of course, Italian travel agencies, otas and direct sales. At present otas represent 20 % of our turnover, and I think it will remain this way for quite some time. Because, while the otas are important, real travel agencies have many things going for them, from the completion of the trip to the proximity and the expertise that represents a unique value in the distribution of the product. That is why I say that the off-line is our first channel, and it will remain so for a long time.”

Published in Transportation

Bluserena's 2024 is off to a good start with positive booking trends for all its destinations, and the company is aiming to increase its share of international clients. 

Bluserena’s resorts are directly on the sea

This aim was revealed at the ITB in Berlin by corporate director of sales, Marco Masserini. The company, which today has more than 90% of its customers in Italy, is determined to increase the international share of its clients: "We are experiencing great interest in Italy, in particular for a product like ours with resorts directly on the sea," says Masserini.

“Special guaranteed flight packages for our Is Serenas Badesi resort” 

 Bluserena is currently concentrating on brand awareness.

"Almost all our properties have been renovated in the last two years (following the acquisition of the group by the Spanish fund Azora in November 2021, Ed.).  For this summer we have a series of connections from Turin, Milan Bergamo, Verona and Bologna airports to Olbia, with special guaranteed flight packages especially for our resort Is Serenas Badesi.”

Published in Hospitality
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