Tourism, the return of foreigners is driving attendance in 2023 to over 445 million

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Tourists visiting our country are returning to higher levels compared to 2019 and the pre-Covid period. According to the budget of the Florence Tourist Study Center for Assoturismo Confesercenti, the presences in accommodation facilities are 445.3 million, an increase of 8.1% compared to last year, but also compared to the pre-pandemic period when tourist presences had been 436.7 million, or 8.6 million less. Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè explains that «the estimates for the end of 2023 which see the recovery of the sector – which would appear to have exceeded pre-pandemic levels – are good news to start the year in the best possible way. This must lead us to invest more and more in the sector which represents a strong driving force for the national economy. New challenges await us, from deseasonalization to digitalization, through training and the quality of the entire tourism industry: together we can overcome them.”

The return of foreigners

Driving the good performance of the sector are above all foreigners who have contributed significantly to overtaking 2019: foreign presences mark +13.7% compared to 2022 and in absolute values ​​they stand at over 228.5 million (220.6 million in 2019). The strengthening of the Italian market is weaker, marking an increase of +2.8% on last year, for a total of 216.8 million overnight stays (216 million in 2019).

North and South at different speeds

The recovery appears at multiple speeds. The South and the Islands are the area that closes the year with the lowest growth values: +4.4%. Furthermore, increases below the national average were also recorded for the North East (+7%) unlike the North West (+11.7%) and the Center (+10.4%) where the estimates instead show a growth of more than 2 percentage points compared to the average.

Cities of art in first place

In hotel and non-hotel accommodation, the movement is estimated to grow by +9.3% with tourist presences standing at 276.2 million, while non-hotel accommodation would stop at +6.1% with 169.1 million overnight stays . Overall, all product areas recorded increases in tourist demand. But among those most appreciated in 2023, the accommodation facilities in cities/art centers (+11.4%) and in the mountains (+11.1%) take first place in the ranking. Equally positive estimates emerge for the structures active in the rural/hilly areas (+10.3%) and the spa (+10.2%). Furthermore, the results were also good for lake locations (+9.6%) and “other interests” (+9%).

The slowdown in seaside tourism

The seaside sector is slowing down during the year: the estimate reports the lowest growth in tourist flows (+3%), above all due to the decline in Italian demand.

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