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Outdoor Tourism Observatory Report

Human Company and THRENDS, a company specialising in analysis and strategies in the tourism & hospitality sector, have presented the 2024 edition of the Outdoor Tourism Observatory, an increasingly influential part of the open-air tourism sector thanks to its tangible and strategic contribution. With a predicted 56.5 million visitors in the months of June, July, August and September, the volumes of the summer 2024 outdoor tourism season are expected to be in line with those of last summer (with 56.3 million visitors) and up 1% compared to the pre-pandemic period (55.9 recorded in 2019). This positive outlook is also supported by an on the books occupancy increase experienced by tour operators (outdoor and trade) and establishments, showing very promising figures for the summer: as of March 2024, around one fifth of accommodation facilities already had an occupancy rate of between 61% and 80%.

The foreign market, as indicated by the Observatory's forecasts, will be increasingly significant in the upcoming season: it will be the best performaning season since 2017, with an estimate of 30 million visitors (53% of the total). This is evidence of how attractive Italy's natural, cultural and artistic beauty is to foreign travellers (especially from key European open-air markets such as the DACH region and Benelux). More specifically, traders see Germany as the fastest growing country of origin, followed by the Netherlands and Denmark.

The Italian market, which will make up the remaining 47%, will be more or less in line with previous years, but slightly lower than 2021 figures and below the pre-2020 average figures. This is certainly affected by the return of long-haul travel and in Mediterranean countries, the decline in spending power and revised holiday budgets, with a readjustment of destinations and a change to the number of nights. In particular, the North East will be the driving geographical area in terms of performance (25.1 million estimated visitors) especially for Northern European tourists who consider it particularly attractive due to its high-level offer and geographical proximity; other areas of Italy will be more stable closer to previous results or slightly declining.

A number of impact factors derived from the current macroeconomic climate were analysed leading to the Observatory's predictions. Global conflicts, including those in Ukraine and Palestine, could redesign the travel routes of both Italians and foreigners; EU countries' long-haul holiday choices could therefore vary, leading to different holiday choices in some markets. The constantly growing appeal of Italy to foreign markets is very important and must be taken into account: a number of foreign operators report that Italy always ranks among the most desirable destinations. In contrast the domestic market confirms a tendency to travel outside of the country. Furthermore, an ever-increasing competition is emerging between the different accommodation types, in particular non-hotel leisure accommodation.

We are also witnessing a growth in demand for the early and late months of the season such as May, June or September, outside the classic summer periods, able to offer lower prices, the possibility of extending holidays and escaping the high temperatures recorded in the Mediterranean. Lastly, increasing tourism prices, confirmed by the results of the survey we carried out, may influence travellers' consumption and choice habits by changing their spending budgets, seeking out offers and promotions, cutting back on any extra facilities and adjusting their holiday dates.

Outdoor Tourism Observatory Report

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