Italy still top of mind tourism destination
Exclusive Interview: Giorgio Palmucci, President, ENIT – Italian National Tourist Board
Italy continues to be top-of-mind as the ultimate destination for travellers from all around the globe. We asked Giorgio Palmucci, President, ENIT – Italian National Tourist Board, how the country is fairing in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
The promotion of Italy across the world has never stopped, and neither has the desire to come and visit the peninsula. The pandemic has upset plans and projects of the entire tourism sector, forcing operators and other professionals to redesign new strategies, but Italy remains undeniably a top-of-mind destination.
The country continues to be one of the top preferred destinations and this is also demonstrated by searches and mentions on social media, where Italy is among the most searched words. It is also an absolute leader in long-haul tourism in Europe: a quarter of tourists from outside Europe come to Italy and therefore the peninsula suffers particularly from the blocking of flights from long-haul countries. Here, ENIT is trying to strengthen Italy’s position with an operation to maintain the brand through promotional activities.
The international networking activity conducted by ENIT between institutions, organisations, SMEs and operators in the sector aims to implement and update the ways of creating and promoting the tourism offering. We have developed more than 30 marketing campaigns, at least one for each country with ENIT representative offices around the world. We immediately started developing a dashboard on the sector, with national and international monitoring to provide useful tools and data for the restart of the sector. We also launched and implemented a free app for smartphones that offers tastes of Italy to be experienced, then lived.
Although Italy has been hit hard by the crisis, have there been “bright spots”?
Italy showed peaks during the crisis with places that nearly sold out last summer thanks to both domestic tourism and local European tourism. There was no shortage of tourists from the UK and Ireland, thanks to the maintenance of a “corridor” that remained open until October, allowing for an extension of the season, a prospect that we also expect for 2021.
What will be the key elements of your post-Covid strategy?
A value growth strategy will focus on the launch of a new positioning of destination Italy in the world, more contemporary and built on sustainability, diversity and inclusivity. Such a vision requires a strong synergy between the public and the private sectors, between destinations and among cities that have been more heavily affected by the pandemic. A contemporary vision also means giving more attention to innovation in “green” tourism, and positioning the Italian brand to new generations of travellers across rapidly growing markets. Finally, we will work to have an increasingly pervasive presence on the global digital ecosystem to strengthen our competitiveness, also thanks to training activities aimed at the sector.
Which markets will you mainly focus on in the coming months?
In the short term, operational marketing actions will focus on European proximity markets and the Russian market, not forgetting medium-haul travellers, such as the Gulf countries and Israel. At the same time, positioning will continue both on traditional markets with the USA, Brazil, Australia and on China and Southeast Asia, which will restart in 2022 but which must be followed very carefully and with particular reference to the development of air connections.
Please tell us about your roadmap.
ENIT’s three-year planning has focused on value-driven growth, focusing on sustainability. The disruption presented by the pandemic has accelerated a process of innovation and rethinking the current offer. This is indispensable in gaining competitiveness and maintaining the international leadership of our country.
The disruption presented by the pandemic has accelerated a process of innovation and rethinking the current offer.
How important are ITB events in terms of creating promotional opportunities for Italy?
They are an opportunity to maintain relations with our main market, to learn more about the change underway and to allow our companies to make use of a promo-marketing platform.
ENIT – Italian National Tourist Board works to promote Italy all around the world. The promotion is carried out with a corporate strategy that is “made in Italy”. It is implemented through local offices and partnerships with embassies, Italian culture institutes abroad, the Italian Trade Agency, chambers of commerce, trade unions and Italy’s regions. In the next few years, Italy’s tourism development will be focused on a valuable growth to generate economic, social and cultural sustainability: enhance tourism supply, increase the value of the territories and businesses, as well as market relevance. Marketing strategies are based on the knowledge of trends, tourists, and products thanks to the internal Department of Market Research and Statistics / National Tourism Observatory of ENIT. These strategies are developed for each individual market due to a precise demand segmentation. Operational marketing supports the products’ commercialisation to strengthen the existing tourism-related products, introducing new ones into traditional markets as well as breaking into markets with a high growth potential. Moreover, the digital strategy covers any action of the agency in an all-encompassing way.
Not to be missed:
ITB press conference 1
Today, Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 16:30 – 17:00
Italian National Tourism Board