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Summer holidays: open air drives the choices of italians

The ENIT and Human Company study

Summer 2021: one out of two italians has planned a holiday, and a quarter of these plan an outdoor holiday

The last year has been a dramatic one for the tourism industry, although the easing of restrictions during the summer months of 2020 saved part of the season. In this scenario, which involved new elements such as proximity, almost exclusively domestic tourism and a last-second booking window, the outdoor sector has shown a good resilience despite the declining figures, also supported by its intrinsic characteristics: the flexibility of the solutions, the sustainability of the expenditure, the contact with nature and safety.

And for the summer of 2021? Measuring the dimensions of this tourism segment is the latest Open Air Tourism Observatory commissioned to the Piepoli Institute by Enit-National Tourism Agency and Human Company, a Florentine group leader in Italy in open-air hospitality. Carried out in June with a qualitative-quantitative method on a representative sample of the Italian population, the research investigated the outdoor holidays of the last year, the changes induced by the pandemic, the forecasts of outdoor stays for summer 2021 and influence of the vaccination campaign on the upcoming summer holidays.

The forecasts for summer 2021
According to the survey estimates for the summer of 2021, more than one in two Italians has planned a holiday for more than a week on average, of whom a quarter plan to stay in an outdoor building. Villages and farmhouses are in the lead, followed by camping and mountain lodges. 65% of those planning outdoor trips will choose a seaside destination, 20% in the mountains, and 16% in cities and artistic destinations. The profile of the outdoor traveler is similar to that of the last year, with a strong presence of young people (21%) and a low number of over 64s (3%). The data for this period is interesting: while August is confirmed as the dominant month (for 48% of Italians and 54% of outdoor tourists it is the period identified for holidays), September holds a considerable share, especially among those inclined to the outdoors (28%).

About a quarter of open-air holidaymakers have already booked, while almost half intend to book between June and July. Of the total inclined to outdoor accommodation, over 80% will choose a place in Italy, with Sicily in the lead (16%), followed by Sardinia (14%) and Liguria (12%).

The guarantee of compliance with the anti-contagion hygiene precautions (26%) is the second factor of choice after convenience (29%) for travelers inclined to outdoor facilities, with tourists still showing a high degree of sensitivity to the pandemic issue. In fact, the progress of the vaccination campaign has a great impact on the propensity to book: it encourages seven out of ten Italians to vacation, and as many as nine out of ten among those inclined to take a holiday in outdoor facilities.

Giorgio Palmucci, President of Enit states: "The external environment and its full experience takes on significant value in a context that has educated us to live the travel experience in safer ways. Furthermore, outdoor tourism also meets a sociological need and offers the opportunity to strengthen the sense of respect for the natural environment and allows for the expression and enhancement of emotional, affective, social, expressive, creative and motor skills.

Outdoor tourism lays the foundations to consolidate itself more and more in the current tourist scenarios. 2021 will be the ideal year to intercept flows from neighboring states to Italy, with Europe and North America representing the main origin of adventure travelers, but it is also one of the most active due to the presence of tour operators specialised in niche markets"

Luca Belenghi, CEO of Human Company noted: "For this new edition of the Open Air Tourism Observatory we are thrilled by the prestigious collaboration with Enit-National Tourism Agency, which is accompanied by the renewed partnership with Istituto Piepoli. This is the first wave of the survey that is part of a broader program that provides for the creation of further reports aimed at tracking the outdoor market in Italy," continues Belenghi. "The past editions of the Observatory have highlighted in recent years the constant growth of the open air segment in Italy. In the pandemic era, despite the general decline in national volumes compared to pre-Covid data, the sector has shown a good resilience and recorded an increase in the presence of compatriots, due to its intrinsic ability to meet the demand for slower tourism more aware of issues of proximity. These are data that are confirmed on the actual trend of bookings for the summer of 2021, with the hope that the September numbers can also be confirmed and tourism in the cities of art can resume next winter."

According to Livio Gigliuto, Vice President of Istituto Piepoli: "This will be another Italian summer for our fellow citizens, but this time it seems to be by choice. The acceleration of the vaccination campaign has liberated our desire for holidays and in making them we have rediscovered the open air, which makes us feel safe, nature, with which during the pandemic we recovered a relationship that we no longer want to lose, and Italy , to which we also feel more emotionally connected than before. In any case, it will be a summer of caution, so much so that compliance with hygiene and health standards is now the main criterion for choosing destinations and facilities, on a par with convenience."