Italy Holidays
13 June 2018   •   Carolina Attanasio

Italy holidays: the most desired country in the world

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«Be Italy is the study carried out by ENIT and IPSOS on the attractiveness of Italy around the world: despite many contradictions, we are in pole position. Read on to find out where Italy holidays stand»

“ Italy holidays ” is a word that encapsules anyone’s deepest desire. But what is the reputation of the Italian territory abroad? ENIT, the National Tourism Agency, asked this question and commissioned IPSOS to do Be Italy, a survey that aims to determine the rate of satisfaction that our country registers with foreign citizens. Easy, you say, we are loved almost everywhere, the pizza has even just been named World Heritage Site by UNESCO (for us it was already like that, of course). The truth is, when it comes to feelings, you can never be sure, so a good survey on one’s reputation is needed every once in a while.

The question about Italy holidays involved 18 countries around the world. In Europe it was Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain, Poland; in the rest of the world the subdivision took place on the basis of two factors, Mature Countries (long-time romances, let’s say), like USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Prospect countries (new flames, which more recently expressed interest in Italy), like China, Russia, Turkey, India, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco.

be italy

Credits / ENIT – IPSOS

Survey methodology: survey (online interviews), Stakeholders (interviews with relevant economic actors) and Web Listening (listening to the Web to understand if, how, where, when and why we are appreciated).

Let’s see what emerges from the Be Italy study of Italy holidays: in general, the notoriety of Italy increases in correspondence with the socio-economic status of the interviewed subjects, the greater their cultural level, the greater the possibility to get information about our country and have a certain knowledge of it. The male target tends to be higher than the female target (men, alas, travel more than women for work). Among the European countries, Germany is the one that knows us best, Poland knows us the least. Among the Mature countries, it is easy to understand that we are in the hearts of the USA and that Japan still knows us very little. In the Prospects countries, India seems to be the country that knows the most about Italian virtues.

According to Be Italy, the greater flow of visitors comes from Europe (a fairly intuitive figure, if we think of physical proximity and extreme ease of movement between EU countries); 1 in 4 visitors, on the other hand, comes from the Mature markets, while 1 in 5 from the Prospects. The most assiduous visitor is male, between 30 and 49 years old and of medium-high socio-economic status and education.

The Germans are the most assiduous in the Italy holidays trend, followed by the English, Spanish and French. An interesting fact of Be Italy is that, among the Prospect countries, the greatest turnout is for work reasons, a sign of the times and of the economic evolution of the relations between the different areas of the world. In general, however, the largest percentage of visitors come to Italy for tourism (there is a 71-75% of tourists against 9% of people coming for work and a 7-8% of people visiting relatives): it seems like we do have a few things worth visiting here in Italy… Among the US aficionados, as many as 14% come for shopping too, a considerably higher percentage than that of other countries, with all due respect to Made in Italy production, which always remains an extremely important added value (and, hopefully, always adequately protected and promoted).

Here are the report cards of Be Italy: we enjoy widespread benevolence, we are very well seen by Germany, France (would you have ever said so?) and Great Britain; outside of Europe, we are in the basket of preferences of the USA, China, Russia and high social classes of Africa. Japan, instead, is rather critical. The best opinion comes from those who have visited Italy in the last 5 years, but tends to decrease among those who have a less vivid experience of visiting our country.

Do you know who has the worst opinion of Italy holidays? The foreigners living here. Beyond the chatter about how good we are at throwing ourselves down with our hands, it must be said that the judgment is biased due to the fact of experiencing the country every day, a certainly very different experience from visiting it as a tourist or for work reasons. Therefore, keep in mind the difference in perception.

Let’s get back to the good news: if you ask respondents to think about where the quality of life is better and where creativity and inventiveness are stronger, we are in Pole Position. We get second place – instead – if you ask to think about which country is more tolerant and respectful of civil rights. We do not shine for sustainable development, political stability, efficiency, economic development and innovation/research, all sore subjects that we know well. So what saves us? The art of living well. Despite the objective difficulties, we continue to be associated with that bella vita that the whole world envies us.

What do you think of when you say Italy holidays? The sacred triad is always that, in order: cooking, monuments, fashion. Another interesting fact of Be Italy is almost sociological in nature: the more the interviewed country is physically distant, the more it has an idyllic image of the boot, the positive values ​​far outweigh the negative notes, which are considered physiological, a duality that characterizes any country. As you get closer, however, the opinion becomes more lukewarm: the countries that are physically close to us or with whom we maintain a great economic exchange see us as competitive but in need of regenerating ourselves. Foreigners residing in Italy see us as the festival of contradiction, a huge basin of wasted potential or blocked by a tangle of problems, to which no solution is found. Beautiful and impossible, as Gianna Nannini would say. We remain champions in elegance and uniqueness, seen with admiration and empathy: our orientation towards wellness and the refinement of some of our excellences show us as a beacon in the contemporary global reality.

Italians? According to Be Italy, they are empathetic, intelligent, competent and demanding, humaneThe Italy Brand is associated with positive or neutral words, negative only if we talk about politics. Football is the most quoted sport, Buffon the most talked about player. Tourism, almost anyone who has visited Italy, would still do so, and the greatest interest comes from the Prospect countries. Rome, Venice and Milan are the first to come to mind; Sicily is the region which pops up first. The most moving fact is that Italy is still seen as the cradle of civilization and considered, in its entirety, a universal heritage.

Click here to see all of the research.

Carolina Attanasio

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