Tourism is an important resource of the national economy and its development has a relevant impact on the economic activity of the manufacturing and service sectors.
The statistics on tourism supply and demand provide an overview of Italy's attractiveness and accommodation capacity. On the other hand, Italian heritage is famous all over the world for its beautiful coastline, mountain landscape and art cities.
In 2019, in Italy, 218,327 tourism collective accommodation establishments (hotels and other collective accommodation establishments) and over 5.1 million bed-places were registered, increased by 1.0% and by 1.2% respectively, compared to 2018.
Between 2005 and 2019, the number of bed-places increased by 19.0%, and other collective accommodation establishments grew more than hotels (+25.5% and +11.4% respectively). In 2019, the share of bed-places in other collective accommodation establishments reached 56.3% of the national total.
In 2019, the number of hotels accounted for 32,730 units, decreasing slightly compared to 2018 (-0.5%); while 2.2 million bed-places were registered, a stable number compared to the previous year. The number of other collective accommodation establishments accounted for 185,597 units, (+1.3% compared to 2018) and more than 2.8 million bed-places were recorded (+2.2% compared to 2018). Overall, residents and non-residents spent approximately 436.7 million nights in collective tourist accommodation establishments in Italy, increased by 7.9 million, compared to 2018 (+ 1.8%). In addition, approximately 131.3 million arrivals were registered, increased by about 3.2 million, compared to 2018 (+2.6%).
The average length of stay in the accommodation establishments was equal to 3.32 nights, it decreased slightly, compared to the previous year, both for tourists resident in Italy (-0.02 nights) and abroad (-0.03 nights). These values confirmed the trend observed since 2005 and the slowdown of the total length of stay, in the period from 2005 to 2019, was equal to di 0.69 nights.
In 2019, the resident population made 54 million and 253 thousand trips on the national territory, for holiday and business purposes (-13.7% compared to 2018), which resulted in a total of 278 million and 558 thousand overnight stays in collective and private accommodations.
Holidays accounted for 89.2% of total trips. In particular, 45.5% of holidays was made up of short stays (1-3 nights) and 43.8% were long holidays (4 nights or over). Business trips accounted for the remaining 10.8% of trips. In terms of overnight stays, 93.8% of nights were spent for holidays and 6.2% for professional trips. The average duration of stays in Italy was equal to 5.4 and 3.0 nights, respectively for holidays and business trips.
In 2019 over 1.8 million bed-places (35.0% of the national total) were located in the North-East, the geographical area showing the highest accommodation capacity, followed by the Centre, the South and the Islands, which registered over 1.2 million bed-places each (approximately 25.0% of the national total). The Northeast showed the highest number of bed-places per thousand inhabitants (155.4); all its Regions exceeded the average number of bed-places per thousand inhabitants recorded at national level (86.5).
Instead, the North-West recorded the lowest value among the geographical areas (49.8), with the exception of Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste, which ranked first (459.6 bed-places per thousand inhabitants). In the Centre, only Lazio showed a number of bed-places per thousand inhabitants (71.0) lower than the national average.
In 2019, the regions showing the highest number of nights spent by residents and non-residents tourists were Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige/Sudtirol, Toscana, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia. These regions accommodated more than 252 million of nights spent (more than 58.0% of the national total).
As for the total of trips, in 2019 the most visited regions by residents were Toscana, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Lombardia, Veneto and Puglia hosting totally 52.8% of tourist flows: shares varied from 6.6% in Puglia and 10.7% in Toscana. The latter was the favourite destination for short holidays (15.1% of the total short holidays in Italy), while, at the top of the ranking of the long holidays there were Puglia and Emilia-Romagna (respectively 11.0% and 9.9% of the total long holidays in Italy). The most frequent destinations for business trips were Lombardia and Lazio: these regions together accommodated 39.9% of the total business trips made by residents on the national territory.
Strong territorial differences persisted in the tourism propensity: in all periods of the year and for all types of trip, the resident population in the South and in the Islands participated in tourism less than the resident population in other Italian regions. Participation in tourism was higher in the Northeast, especially in summer (55.1%) and in spring (35.4%). In the same period, residents in North-West accounted for 50.5% in summer and 33.3% in spring, while residents in the Centre ranked 2nd for tourism propensity in winter (19.7%) and in autumn (20.3%).
In 2019, in Europe, an average of 64.1 bed-places per thousand inhabitants in collective accommodations establishments were recorded. Croatia showed the highest value (284.1); followed by Greece, Austria, Luxembourg and Cyprus, which exceeded 100 bed-places per thousand inhabitants. Finally, Malta, Slovenia, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden ranked after them. Over the period from 2000 to 2019, in Europe, the accommodation capacity grew from 48.3 to 64.1 bed-places per thousand inhabitants. Italy registered a considerable increase, from 68.7 bed-places per thousand inhabitants, in 2000, to 86.5 beds per thousand inhabitants, in 2019. In 2019, most EU countries recorded an average length of stay in collective tourist accommodation establishments equal to less than 4 nights. Italy ranked eighth (3.32 nights), exceeding the average length of stay recorded at the EU level (3 nights). At the top of the ranking, there were Cyprus, Malta, Croatia, Greece and Denmark, which recorded an average length of stay more than 4 nights.
In 2018, 49.7% of European residents aged 15 and over made at least one long holiday (4 nights or over). The Netherlands (75.5%) and Romania (11.0%) respectively ranked first and last. Italy (39.3%) remained below both the European average and the values recorded in Germany (66.0%), Austria (60.1%) and France (58.8%), which are countries with a tourism propensity historically higher than the European average.