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Face to Face.  Giorgio Palmucci, President, Italian National Tourism Board

Wednesday, 03 November 2021 11:21

“We are at the WTM to tell the world we can guarantee safety to those who choose our country.”

Speaking to ItaliAbsolutely Giorgio Palmucci looked back on the last 18 months. “There was a lot of uncertainty, and then the second Covid wave hit. Today there is more positivity and greater confidence in a recovery, thanks to the vaccination programme and to investments made by industry players to ensure greater peace of mind and guarantees for visitors. We are at the WTM to send out the message, to neighbouring markets and to the world, that we guarantee safety to those who choose our country.”

“We have to grow, not in volume but in value”

“Before Covid tourism was already in a phase of evolution, and we, as the operative arm of the Ministry of Tourism, were starting to think about trends, and how the ways of using a holiday and of traveling were changing. Covid accelerated these processes.  In 2019 we were worried about over-tourism. Now we need to grow back not in volume but in value, keeping people longer in our country and making sure they don’t just visit the most popular destinations.”

Boosting domestic and international markets 

“Italy is a very diversified country and we can not limit ourselves to selling certain times of year and the classical over-crowded destinations. Tourism can work 365 days a year and there is no such thing as a minor destination; what we have are amazing lesser-known destinations. The first step is to work on the domestic market as Covid has shown us that Italians do not know their country very well. The next step is to make sure that more mature neighbouring markets like Germany, the UK and France come back fast.”

“The number one variable for a holiday is safety”

For intercontinental visitors, from the USA to Canada, from Australia to Japan, and from South America to China, over these difficult months ENIT recounted a virtual story. “We told international visitors that Covid has not touched the hardware. That Italy is the same as it always was, and we have worked very hard to respond to what is now the number one variable in choosing a destination which is safety.”

We need to move fast before other destinations  

At the end of last October, before the second wave hit, the perception of 84% of international travellers surveyed was that Italian operators had done everything possible to ensure safe holidays. “The message we want to get across now is that visitors don't have to worry about Covid or anything else that doesn't add value to their stay. But if we want to be competitive we have to move fast, before other destinations.  In 2022 we will bounce back though not to the levels of 2019. It will be a year of recovery, although MICE and business travel will only kick-in later.”

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