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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.”

WhatsApp Image 2024 03 06 at 14.08.01 1Gnv staff ai ITB Berlin

“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

"We strongly believe in the trade and continue to invest in this relationship," said Emiliana Limosani, CCO of ITA Airways and CEO of Volare, speaking at the ITB travel fair in Berlin.

“We want part of our business and leisure product to be sold by the trade”  

That the value of the partnership "since the company was set up, is objectively at a delicate stage", has never been in question Limosani added. “On the contrary, it has been strengthened, so much so that today 65% of our worldwide turnover comes from travel agencies, tour operators and travel management companies. And this is not accidental because strategically and commercially speaking we want part of our business and leisure product to be sold by the trade.”  The ITA Airways roadshows are trade-oriented, and this year “the show has already started in Southern Italy where it will tour eight cities: we began in Cagliari, then on to Bari, followed by Naples, Venice and so on.” 

The importance of the German market

The airline is present on the Italian stand at the Berlin show, together with ENIT, the Italian National Tourist Board and the regions. “We like to present ourselves together and no longer in a fragmented fashion as in the past” to underline the importance of the German market for ITA's network. "Germany is one of our main markets in Europe, we have 76 frequencies a week from Rome Fiumicino mainly, but also from Milan Linate to Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Dusseldorf. From 26 May to 23 September we will also operate Linate-Rostock charter flights. The German market is important not only for point-to-point traffic but also with a view to the “sixth freedom” connecting these cities via Rome Fiumicino and then continuing on to our long-haul destinations. Long haul is very important for ITA. In 2023, out of a global turnover of €2.4 billion, of which 2.1 billion in passenger traffic, about half, and therefore €1 billion was from our long haul routes. And while 45% came from point-to-point passengers, the remaining 55% came from passengers connecting from Europe, like on the Stuttgart-Rome-Maldives, for example.” 

A loyalty programme for young travellers and a positive 2024

The ITB is also an opportunity to take stock of the carrier's loyalty programme. “From the 1.8 million members of two years ago we are  aiming for 2.6 million by the end of 2024. Today 63% are Italians and we continue to focus on the internationalization of the programme. Other novelties for the current year include the growth of partners, “who will increase from 25 to 41, thus more than doubling,” and the launch of a new “sub-programme, in addition to those for corporate and SMEs. It is called Avventura and is for children from 2 to 16 years of age, who will have their own personal card, and like the existing programmes is divided into four clubs, Smart, Plus, Premium and Executive. Children are our travellers of the future and we want to invest in them.”  Despite the difficult international geopolitical climate, "January and February have surprised us favourably. These so-called deep winter months have seen both leisure and business customers starting to diversify, and consequently we are able to work better. This year we are offering a further 37%, after the 60% increase in 2023.” 

Published in Transportation

In her first public speech, Alessandra Priante the new president of the Italian National Tourist Board ENIT S.p.a. spoke about social sustainability at the ITB in Berlin. 

”Sustainability is not economic, it is essentially social”

"Sustainability has a basic principle. To help companies to make sustainability real. Which is to say, it is not enough to talk about it, it must become something tangible. When the customer has to choose, he must have a clear picture of what is on offer, and when the picture is also sustainable, the game is over.  However sustainability is not economic, it is essentially social.  And in this sense tourism can make a difference. What I mean is that that social sustainability means including the different territories in both the planning and development stages.”

Overtourism. A question of the quality of the product

Another point to be made is overtourism, a word I hate. And which in my opinion does not exist. There has been a lot of concern about overtourism.  And here the concept of social sustainability returns, because it is not so much the quota of visitors, but the quality of the product. That is when a territory develops, in a solid way, enhancing our country.” 

Published in MICE & Events

With Germany ranked as Italy’s number one inbound market, there was a high-ranking turnout at the ENIT, Italian National Tourist Board, pavilion at the ITB in Berlin.

Some 50% of Germans are repeat visitors to Italy

Present at the ENIT stand, with the minister of tourism Daniela Santanchè, were the governor of Emilia Romagna Stefano Bonaccini, the new president of ENIT S.p.a. Alessandra Priante, and the managing director of the Italian national tourist board Ivana Jelinic. Minister Santanchè said the ITB is an extraordinary opportunity to further increase the visibility of Italy. “Almost 50% of German tourists return to Italy and the Venus of the “Open to Wonder” campaign influences their choice or confirmation of Italy as a travel destination.  “Thanks to ENIT's contribution the Italian regions and the many businesses present at this Berlin show provide a unified image and are “an example of how the Italian system must move in order to aspire to ever greater success, while at the same time constituting a precious opportunity to create the best business climate for our enterprises.” 

3df4ea16 c4cf 413b 8833 cdd7b858f957The new president of ENIT S.p.a. Alessandra Priante, and the managing director of the Italian national tourist board Ivana Jelinic

The importance of promoting Italy’s appeal 

ENIT S.p.a.’s new president Alessandra Priante said that Germany is the first market for Italy, a position that it is essential to maintain while improving on tourist satisfaction. "The essence of tourism is not only arriving at a destination, but above all returning there and promoting its appeal by word of mouth. We are also seeing the return of long haul big-spenders, and consolidating an interesting position in the Middle East and Asia. With the new ENIT S.p.a. we will work in a more agile and innovative way to give the right support to Italian tourism stakeholders, operators, and the industry in general, promoting Italy’s excellence, focusing heavily on training, and helping destinations to diversify and deseasonalize even more effectively."

“Focusing on developing progressively varied and eco-conscious tourism products”

"Italy is the first country abroad for Germans who know a lot about our cultural influence in terms of fashion, entertainment, brands, trends, cultural heritage and tourism," said ENIT CEO Ivana Jelinic. - The Germans love Italy so much that they choose to return again and again, compelling us to focus on developing progressively varied and eco-conscious tourism products.” Armando Varricchio, the Italian ambassador to Germany commented that with over 12 million arrivals, Germany is confirmed as the first country of origin for tourism to Italy.  “Moreover, this is a market with great growth potential, as demonstrated today by the presence of the minister of tourism and over 200 Italian exhibitors at the ITB. This is a valuable opportunity to present Italy’s excellence to Germany and to international audiences.” 

Emilia Romagna is investing in sporting and cultural events

In 2023 the Emilia Romagna region posted record overnights and arrivals thanks to synergies between the public and private sectors which also enabled the region to cope with a dramatic event such as last year’s floods in Romagna. “We will continue to invest in infrastructure and in the redevelopment of the coastline and accommodation facilities, while focusing on major sporting and cultural events”, said Stefano Bonaccini, president of the Emilia-Romagna region.

Published in MICE & Events

An Italian debut is planned in Taormina in 2025 for Kimpton, the brand acquired by the IHG group in 2018 for €430 million.

A 59-room boutique hotel with a Mediterranean garden 

The Italian Kimpton opening, scheduled for the second half of 2025 in Taormina Sicily, is the result of a management agreement with the Società Turistica Alberghiera Taorminese for a 59-room boutique hotel with a restaurant aimed at both tourists and locals. The property will also have a breakfast room and a terrace bar with panoramic views, as well as a Mediterranean garden, a 20-metre swimming pool and a tennis court.

Hotel Kimpton in Sicilia cerimonia firma 1

“In 2023 we more than doubled our luxury and lifestyle properties in Italy”

“Italy is an ideal destination for luxury travel, – says Willemijn Geels, VP Development Europe IHG Hotels & Resorts. - Our growth strategy in Italy aims at completing and further enriching our offer.  Following exponential growth in 2023, which saw us more than double our luxury and lifestyle properties in Italy, we are now thrilled to partner with Società Turistica Alberghiera Taorminase to further expand our presence in Italy with this boutique and lifestyle property in Sicily."

Indigo hotels are planned for Turin and Trieste

The Kimpton in Sicily will be IHG's thirtieth hotel in Italy and will be added to the openings in the pipeline of IHG's luxury and lifestyle segment in Italy. Among these, the first Six Senses urban resort opened in Rome as well as the InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace and the Hotel Indigo Florence. Two more Indigos are due to open in Turin and Trieste, followed by the first Vignette Collection, the Alexandra Hotel, in Rome in 2025.

Published in Hospitality

Le Dune Piscinas which will open in April is the luxury of slowness in the “other” Sardinia.

Sand dunes and transparent seas

In south-western Sardinia, in the Costa Verde area, there are 47 kilometres of wild and spectacular coastline in the municipality of Arbus with an expanse of fine sand dunes, the highest in Europe, that become endless beaches bathed by a sea of surprising transparency. 

This is the other Sardinia

This is the other Sardinia, the one reserved for lovers of nature and silence and from Arbus, you come to the Ingurtosu mining park, a monument of industrial archaeology included in a UNESCO World Heritage area that stretches over 18 kilometres of deserted beach.  From here you proceed along a dirt road until you reach the beach of Piscinas, untouched and solitary, lapped by crystal-clear water. 

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A 5-star hotel with 28 rooms and suites

Le Dune Piscinas Resort, directly on the beach, reopens on 24 April after three years of radical renovation. A project aimed at protecting and enhancing the historic property, an integral part of the local mining industrial archaeology, now elevated to the pinnacle  of environmentally sustainable hospitality. This five-star hotel with 28 rooms and suites, three restaurants, an American bar, spa and gym, and an outdoor pool.

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Menus from a Michelin-star chef 

Le Dune Piscinas has all the comforts of a 5-star hotel, with impeccable service and guests will delight in the food and wine with a menu created by chef Fabio Ciervo, who got a Michelin star at the Eden Hotel Terrace in Rome, and who blends the simplicity of local cuisine with the creativity of fine dining. 

Published in Hospitality

Simone Farci, the new general manager of the InterContinental Rome, puts the focus on the US market, and more.

Simone Farci, with long years of experience in the US, has been appointed general manager of the new InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace which last May marked the return of the IHG house brand to the Eternal City. The revival of Rome’s hospitality, with many prestigious openings already underway or in the pipeline, goes hand in hand with the recovery of US demand, which literally exploded in 2023.

The importance of loyalty programmes

“The US is a very important market for Rome,- says Farci, who spent eight years at the helm of several IHG Caribbean properties. -The target clientele here is certainly a little different from Central America, but the needs of US visitors are often similar. They are accustomed to brands that rely heavily on loyalty programmes, and we at IHG are certainly a guarantee.” 

InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace

“Competition will inevitably grow”

“Last June and July we recorded significant growth. Just ten minutes from our hotel there are at least thirty potential competing facilities, and they are high level.” In Rome the post-Covid period marked a turning point with no shortage of investors seeking to maximize investments. “This can usually only be done with luxury brands. In our area alone there is talk of numerous new openings such as Rosewood, Nobu and Baccarat. Competition will inevitably grow, but I believe that demand will too, proportionally.”

Management and franchising contracts are soaring

The latest Chains Monitor from Thrends shows that chain rooms have now exceeded 20% of the total. And many belong to foreign brands. "The number of owners and investors willing to link up with large groups through management and franchising contracts is soaring,” adds Farci, highlighting a relatively new trend for the Italian market. But the majors are holding their own, and IHG saw their operating margins exceed one billion dollars for the first time in its history.  

Ristorante Scarpetta NYC InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori PalaceRistorante Scarpetta NYC InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace

Rome’s F&B offer has improved

The city of Rome is also playing its part: 'I lived in Rome some fifteen years ago and I find it improved in many ways.  The growth in luxury demand has shaken up the general organization of the city, which is now a destination accessible to all types of tourist. The F&B offer has improved and is no longer limited to Italian and local restaurants. Here at the Ambasciatori Palace, for example, we have an international brand, Scarpetta Nyc, always of course with an eye to the US market.” 

“In the future an important role will be played by events”

This year’s slightly earlier than usual Easter could mean an early start to the high season, which will run to August, with a strong tail end in September and October. “In the last three weeks we have recorded strong demand from Asian markets, thanks chiefly to the Chinese New Year. I believe that in the future an important role will be played by events, starting with next year's Jubilee which will benefit all Rome’s hotels, from two stars up. From this point of view, I truly believe that Rome is a unique destination.” 

Published in Hospitality

With technology advancing faster than you can say "jet lag," it may come as a surprise to find that many airplanes cruising the skies today are much older than you would think! In fact, the oldest is a Boeing 737-200, built in 1974, which is still flying with the Canadian charter airline Nolinor Aviation, at the ripe old age of 50.

While you can rest assured that this old trooper, and many other younger but still outdated planes are not about to drop out of the sky, you may wond how they manage to stay airborne? Well, their structural integrity will be as sound as it was the day they were rolled out, thanks to dependable engineering expertise and, of course, if they are getting that essential TLC which is ongoing meticulous maintenance.

While older models may not have the sleek comforts of today’s cabins, and their maintenance and fuel costs are far higher than planes being made today, not many people taking a United or a British Airways flight stop to think about the age of their plane. Which, in the case of Delta averages 16.3 years, while BA’s fleet stands at 13.5 and ITA Airways at 10. Just as many of those taking a flight operated by Turkish low-cost Pegasus will be more interested in the cheap fares rather than knowing that its 103 planes are an average 4.9 years old, making it the world’s youngest fleet. 

Now you’re probably itching to know just how vintage your next flight might be? No problem, there are websites like FlightRadar24 that provide data on the age of every plane in the sky.

Pamela McCourt FrancesconePamela McCourt Francescone
Executive Editor

Published in Editorial

easyJet is currently the second airline to unveil its debut from the Salerno Amalfi Coast airport, scheduled for 11 July next.

London Gatwick will operate from 13 July

The carrier will operate a network of five routes: the first from Milan Malpensa, followed on 12 July by flights from Basel, Geneva and Berlin. On 13 July the long-awaited flight from London Gatwick will land. The new flights, on sale since 29 February, will initially be operated during the summer season with three weekly frequencies for the Milan Malpensa - Salerno route and two weekly frequencies for London Gatwick, Basel, Geneva and Berlin. 

easyJet is operating 52 routes into Campania

With the addition of these five new routes departing from Salerno - the 23rd airport served by easyJet in Italy - the total capacity offered by the airline in Campania in the coming summer season rises to almost three million seats, with 51 routes to 13 countries. 

The carrier also announced that it will place an additional aircraft, the eighth, at its base at Naples international airport next summer, introducing some new flights including Nantes in France, Sitia (Crete), Preveza (Lefkada) and the island of Zakynthos

More easyJet Holidays packages

Next summer will also see an increase in tourist packages offered by easyJet Holidays, the group's tour operator which every year transports thousands of tourists from the United Kingdom (and recently also from Switzerland, Germany and France) to numerous destinations in Southern Italy, through partnerships with local hotels and taking advantage of the wide range of flights guaranteed by the easyJet network. This year over 700 Italian hotels will be part of the easyJet Holidays offer, which already brought thousands of British tourists to Naples last summer.

Published in Transportation
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