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2024 Outdoor Tourism Observatory

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.

“The Outdoor Tourism Observatory, now in its fourth year, is a unique reference point of huge value to all tourism operators and businesses; further underlining the validity of this study is the fact that last year's visitor predictions for summer 2023 proved to be perfectly in line with the actual data. In the current edition, the forecasts for the upcoming summer season place it in line with the last two years: this is certainly positive news that gives the future a bright outlook, but also highlights the importance of targeting investments and carefully supporting growth in the sector. Our Group is about to start a new season and, also based on the Observatory data, we expect a very positive trend regarding visitors to our sites" says Domenico Montano, Managing Director of Human Company.

"In recent years we have seen summer becoming less prominent in the overall demand volumes for outdoor activities. This edition of the Observatory also confirms the trend towards camping holidays in Italy being more spread out over the course of the year. A phenomenon that is accelerating with the rise in average temperatures, recorded in 2022-2023. Among other phenomena of particular interest, we noted the growing weight of the foreign market in the segment and the polarization of performance between Northern (the North-East in particular) and Southern Italy, the latter still having a low rate of product innovation and unfortunately far from the most promising incoming markets. Against this background, to sum up, we expect an overall demand volume in summer 2024 that is close to the 2023 figures. So, we are at a crossroads: by the end of 2024, we will understand whether the segment's momentum is coming to an end or is set to continue" explains Giorgio Ribaudo, THRENDS Managing Director.


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.


Analysis of the data collected in the Outdoor Tourism Observatory highlights how 2023 was the year of definitive recovery after the pandemic period. In particular, visitor numbers in the outdoor sector reached 68.6 million for the entire year and, with a 2% increase on 2022, were the best year of the last 7 years. Northern Italy has proven to be a driving force in the outdoor segment, alone accounting for 60% of the total visitor numbers for the year (40.9 million), with Veneto, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna being the most attractive regions. Foreign visitor numbers grew in particular, with a 17% increase compared to 2019.

Looking specifically at the summer, vistor numbers were 56.3 million, down 0.3% compared to 2022, a sign of significant growth in visitors in the period from October to May. However, visitor figures were perfectly in line with that predicted by the 2023 edition of the Observatory, with a difference of only 1%. Foreign visitors continue to increase in numbers and are becoming the main market (54% of total visitors) with record volumes and growth prospects. In contrast, the Italian market is experiencing a period of decline. In-depth analysis of the data also allowed us to estimate the direct economic impact of the outdoor sector, which in 2023 stood at around 4.79 billion; this figure represents the contribution to the economy generated by spending by tourists choosing open-air accommodation options. Compared with the direct impact of tourism in Italy, amounting to 100 billion, the outdoor sector represents approximately 5% of the market.


The Observatory's scope of analysis includes the whole open-air macro-sector (camping and holiday villages), while continuing to present tangible and strategic insights. There are two new features in the 2024 edition: the extension of the survey to a panel of 300 trade and business operators, with the aim of exploring the perception of opinion leaders in the sector regarding the last summer season and the expectations for the next one, and the introduction of an in-depth analysis to assess the direct economic impact of the outdoor sector.

The complex work of data collection was also very important, involving numerous bodies including Istat, Eurostat and the competent offices for every Italian region, which was followed by a phase of interpretation and analysis, in order to evaluate the accuracy and comparability of the sources studied; it was therefore possible to collect data with different details to obtain an overall view. The model developed for the previous editions was reworked to develop the model for estimating visitor volumes and to better meet current needs.