The region of Lazio, which surrounds Rome, is working to attract visitors for longer stays. A strategy has been established Lazio’s Regional Agency for Tourism, which among other things, offers free overnights for travellers.

Millions of visitors come every year to Lazio, but they generally have only one destination: Rome – with some venturing to the Tivoli gardens outside Italy’s capital. Lazio is the Italian region surrounding Rome, delimited by the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Apennine mountains. And while travellers mostly transit through Lazio on their way to Rome, Valentina Corrado, the head of Lazio Regional Agency for Tourism, would love to change that.

“My aim is to promoting tourism and to enhance the image of the entire regional territory on a national scale and international. We indeed need to bring more awareness to the region. Of course, Rome remains the base for travellers, but Lazio is more than Rome. We need to assert more our assets to tour operators,” says Corrado.

For the agency, there is intensive work to be done to attract more travellers to areas outside Rome. 14 thematics have been created with online brochures available for visitors or professionals. These themes comprise, among other things, Etruscan and Ancient Roman archeological sites, Unesco World Heritage sites, sport activities, religious tourism, wine and gastronomy circuits, villages and cities, islands, mountains or well-being, just to name some.

“For example, few tourists know that it is possible to ski in our region, just two hours away from Rome. Romans consider Terminillo Mountain as their ski resort station!” she explains. The agency is very keen to promote religious circuits that highlight smaller historical towns. Ms Corrado also sees great potential for the coast with its seaside resorts and islands, spa resorts and agrotourism.

Etruscan culture is another asset with two UNESCO world heritage sites located on Lazio territory. The two necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia contain thousands of tombs, some shaped like houses and decorated with stunning frescoes.

“Increased knowledge of our entire territory will be a way to boost the number of travellers’ overnights. We currently record, on average, 2.3 nights per stay. I would love to reach a target of five nights per stay”, said Ms Corrado.

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Tarquinia Etruscan frescoes (Photo : Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Free overnights to boost the length of stay

In 2019, Lazio recorded 9 million international travellers generating 24 million overnights (including figures for the city of Rome). Among foreign markets, Germans represented the largest share of overnight tourists with a share of 15% followed by French and US travellers with a share of 14% each and the UK with a share of 8%.

The region launched a first test for a new product since the summer. Any visitor booking three nights in Lazio is entitled to an additional free overnight. “For the ones booking five nights, we offer two free overnights,” said Ms Corrado.

The promotion runs until the end of November. “However, we are already thinking about a new promotion in 2022. And we will work further with tour operators, inbound agencies as well as public transport companies to see how to further improve this special offer and add more services,” she said. The offer is available to all travellers, including domestic visitors.

Projects are also in place to increase the quality of accommodation among all segments, from luxury hotels to B&Bs or farm stays. A specific programme has seen the creation of boutique hotels, by putting together village homes and converting them into accommodation infrastructure.

Valentina Corrado is confident that tourism in Lazio will again attract large numbers of foreign travellers. 2020 saw a decline in international overnights of 80%. “We are meanwhile among the most vaccinated population in percentage terms in Italy. This is a guarantee that we give to our visitors. Lazio is really safe for all travellers and we are ready to welcome them again!” she concludes.

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