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Farmstays in Italy are a thriving industry  

By Monday, 01 August 2022 08:00

Farmstays are a thriving industry in Italy according to recent figures showing that since 2010 the number of operational agritourism farms has increased by almost 5,000 (+25%), rising from 19,973 to a total of 25,060 in 2020. 

Farm holidays increased during the pandemic 

This very promising trend seems to have survived and indeed thrived during the pandemic with data suggesting a 2% increase in the two-year period 2019/2020, thanks to the desire for tourism geared to outdoor living and social isolation. According to the current report on Italian food and wine tourism edited by Roberta Garibaldi, the growth in turnover (-48.9 percent, for a total of €802 million) was disrupted by the forced closures and the contraction of international travel.

Longer stays on farms 

People choosing a farm holiday will spend more time there. Between 2010 and 2020, the average stay was over four days, which is significantly longer than in hotels which post an average three days. So the length of stay in farmhouses grew from 3.7 nights in 2019 to 4.2 nights in 2020, compared to 3.2 nights in hotels during the epidemic year. It will be interesting to see if this trend persists in coming years, or if it was a one-time occurrence due to the uncertain circumstances.

The boom of educational farms

Educational farms have grown more than other types in the last decade. From 752 in 2010, there are now 1,911 (+154%) educational farms with the majority in Piedmont, Lombardy, and Veneto. A true surge, indicating a growing interest in recreational and educational stays in contact with nature, animals and agricultural techniques. The pandemic has not slowed this trend, as growth was 11% in the two-year period 2019/2020.

The focus is on experiences

The popularity of farmstays is largely due to the growing number of experiences they provide. Those offering food and wine tastings grew at above-average rates, driven by an increasing desire to discover and experience unique products. 

An alternative to mass tourism

Agritourism has risen in popularity both among Italians and foreign visitors. Between 2010 and 2019 arrivals and overnight stays climbed by 78% and 48%, respectively: notably higher than other types of lodging including hotels. This expansion demonstrates travellers' desire to discover small villages and minor towns in the Italian countryside as an alternative to better-known and congested tourist spots.

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