Destination Analysis: Italy
Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world. The secret of Italy’s success is simple: a great beach holiday in the Mediterranean, a super-rich excursion program, ski resorts and, of course, shopping. Another point of the Italian program is a very high-quality, not cheap, treatment at thermal SPA, as well as gastronomic and wine tours.
Italy is in the Top-10 countries, popular among Russian tourists. Thus, according to the Russian Border Guard Service, the Russians made 956 434 trips to Italy in 2017, 1 167 308 trips in 2018, and 1 361 946 trips in 2019. A Schengen visa is required to visit the country.
The north of the country is international Italy. At first sight it is not so easy to distinguish it from France or Switzerland. Here are Milan - the most “fashionable” city in the country, where people go for luxury shopping, ski resorts, as well as the most unique city in the world - Venice. The center of Italy is the center of history and culture: Rome with its sights at every step, the Vatican, Pisa, Tuscany. And the south is the most “Italian” Italy: unhurried, the hottest and sunniest area. There are not many expensive boutiques and luxury apartments, but there is a history, a kind of cuisine and a true Italian soul.
Beach resorts are located in Italy around the perimeter - totally more than 7 500 km. Almost the entire coast of the country has a gradual entrance to the sea and beautiful bays.
The most popular Italian tourist resort for Russian tourists is Rimini. This is a 15-kilometer sandy beach, a large selection of budget hotels and a whole range of various entertainments. Wealthy tourists can visit the Venetian Riviera with dolomite sand and very warm water, as well as the Tuscan Riviera with its luxurious hotels and restaurants. Those tourists, who wish to relax among the pristine nature, choose the Adriatic coast of Puglia and Emilia Romagna.
Winter Italy is primarily ski resorts. There are really a lot of them: high and low, complex and simple, short and long, with all kinds of relief. All of them are maintained in excellent condition and covered by a network of chairlifts. Ski resorts are located in the regions of Valle d'Aosta, Trentino Alto Adige, Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont.
Health resorts in Italy are concentrated near the thermal springs of healing waters, primarily in the Tuscan region. The most famous thermal SPA are Abano Terme, Monsummano Terme and Montecatini Terme. In addition to treatment programs, all thermal resorts offer beaches, excursions and other entertainment that can be combined with treatment.
The hotel base of Italy provides a service of European level and excellent food. There are hotels for every taste and budget - from budget to VIP world-class hotels. Typically, tour operators give stars to “their” hotels based on their own, more or less subjective ratings.
The climate of Italy is very diverse - in the north with moderately hot summers (+22° C - +24° C) and foggy winters (in January about 0°C). The climate of the island part of Italy is Mediterranean, two thirds of the year there is a clear blue sky, summers are hot and dry, and winters are warm and mild (from +8° C to +10° C in January). Dry hot winds blow from the Sahara (sirocco) in the south of the peninsula from March to October. During this period, the temperature rises to about +35° C, the air becomes dry and dusty. In the mountainous regions of the country (Alps and Apennines) winter is cold, the temperature can reach −20° C.
The most convenient option to get to Italy is by plane. Aeroflot and Alitalia operate direct scheduled flights to Rome, Milan and Venice daily. In summer, S7 Airlines flies to Verona daily and twice a week to Genoa. The flights to Italy are also performed by UTair, Russia. Ural Airlines. In addition to regular flights in the summer, many charters fly to Naples, Palermo, Catania and Cagliari. In Rimini, charter flights land year-round.
There are no trains from Moscow to Italy, but there are options with change in Bucharest, Warsaw, Berlin or Paris. True, a train will most likely cost more than an airplane, and you will have to spend at least three days on the road in one direction. The same story with buses: a two-day trip to Rome via Berlin will cost the same as an airplane.
You can’t reach Italy by sea from Russia yet, but you can take a ferry from Greece (easiest and fastest), Albania, Montenegro, Croatia or Tunisia.
Most of the Russian tour operators “deal” with Italy, offering both a specific type of holidays in this country and a combined vacation, as a rule. Sightseeing tours are combined with beach holidays.
The head of the Italian National Tourism Agency (ENIT) Giovanni Bastianelli noted that the demand for holidays in Italy among Russian tourists is growing every year. The reason for this is the uniqueness of the tourism product and it is liked by a wide range of tourists.
According to ENIT statistics, the majority of Russian tourists travel to Emilia-Romagna. And it is here, in the region with wonderful beaches, the share of organized tourism is the highest - thanks to the long-term contacts of highly professional Russian tour operators and the tourist industry of this region. In the second place are excursion tours - “cities of art”: Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. In the third place is the island of Sicily.
“Now, our task on the Russian market is to promote complex tourism products with a great share of gastronomy, nature, and environmental friendliness. This is what, in our opinion, will be able to attract more Russian audience,” said Mr. Giovanni Bastianelli.