Italy on the podium for “bleisure” travel but the budget is lower than the EU average

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It is most likely the smartest way of traveling and Italians conquer the top step of the podium. These are bleisure trips, an acronym for business with leisure, a mix of a business trip with the addition of a few extra days of leisure stay. According to the “Travel in Flux” report by Alvarez & Marsal, the global consultancy firm, in fact, 27% of Italians have consolidated the trend of bleisure travel in the last 12 months, above Spain (26%), France (21 %), Germany (19%), the Netherlands (17%) and the United Kingdom (15%).

According to a survey carried out by the company on a sample of approximately 3,800 travelers around the world in the last year, almost a third have taken business and leisure trips also thanks to the flexibility of working hours. 45% took advantage of the business trip by adding a few extra days to relax and explore the location after professional commitments, while only a minority (27%) indicated a preference for leisure as a precursor to a business trip. The pleasure break is almost always short-lived because only 4% of the sample extends their stay by five or more nights.

“The travel industry has demonstrated extraordinary resilience post-Covid and the rise of bleisure travel is a further example of how the sector has adapted and flexed to evolving consumer preferences,” comments Ed Bignold, managing director of Corporate transformation services by Alvarez & Marsal -. Travellers’ growing propensity to harmonize work and leisure marks a profound transformation in holiday habits, with consumers adopting a more pragmatic approach to travel. This change in mentality is a clear reflection of the changed working landscape, where flexibility and versatility have become fundamental.”

It is a substantial change that the hospitality industry must adapt its offer of services and comforts to the needs of these travellers. According to the report, Italy has the smallest travel budget compared to the EU. If Italians rank first among the main EU countries in the bleisure travel ranking, this is not the same when it comes to the budget dedicated to travel and holidays. In fact, although the Italian one has increased compared to the last three years, it still remains below the European average with 39% compared to over 50% in the EU.

In the organization of travel, the importance attributed to ESG values ​​during trips and trips is growing. In fact, almost two-thirds of the sample say they are willing to pay more for green and sustainability credentials, even if ESG factors are not among the top five considerations when choosing accommodation. This could reflect a growth in ESG awareness that isn’t yet showing up in spending, or, more likely, that travelers have good intentions when it comes to making environmentally friendly choices, but this doesn’t turn into such a big priority when talk about price. Among the new trends driving ESG principles there is also the staycation, with less frequent trips and for longer periods. In fact, a third of those interviewed say they choose places closer to home as their holiday destination, 24% reduce the number of trips and 23% make fewer but longer trips.

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