The recovery of Chinese tourists to Italy is within reach, with arrivals possibly reaching “new peaks” this year starting from the Spring Festival holiday in China, said Ivana Jelinic, president and CEO of Italian National Tourist Board.
by Guo Wendi
ROME, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — The recovery of Chinese tourists to Italy is within reach, with arrivals possibly reaching “new peaks” this year starting from the Spring Festival holiday in China, an Italian tourism official has said.
The Spring Festival holiday, which runs from Feb. 10 to 17 this year, is traditionally one of the peak periods in Chinese tourist arrivals, and “it will undoubtedly serve as an indicator to understand the trends for the coming months,” said Ivana Jelinic, president and CEO of Italian National Tourist Board, in a recent written interview with Xinhua.
She noted that the growth of Chinese tourists in Europe and Italy was quite substantial in the second half of 2023, along with favorable factors such as increased international flights and a rise in the number of Chinese outbound tourists during this year’s New Year holiday.
Chinese outbound tourism’s potential is enormous, and this year, the number of Chinese tourists in Italy is expected to reach and surpass the record set in 2019, Jelinic said.
“The cities most visited will undoubtedly be Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan,” she said, adding that other destinations, like the southern seaside resorts, the Alpine region, historic villages in central Italy, and thermal resorts, are becoming increasingly popular among Chinese tourists.
She added that Chinese tourism is crucial for various destinations in Italy. For example, Chinese visitors ranked third in arrival numbers to the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy in 2019.
Jelinic said she believes natural landscapes, architectural gems and excellence in local cuisine are crucial to attracting Chinese tourists. “Italian destinations that can combine these three elements are well-positioned to attract an increasing number of Chinese tourists, and there are indeed so many of them.”
This year is considered pivotal for the recovery of the Chinese inbound and outbound tourism market. China recorded 5.18 million inbound and outbound trips during the three-day New Year holiday, from Dec. 30, 2023, to Jan. 1, 2024, a 4.7-fold increase compared with the figure for the same period a year earlier and returning to 2019 levels, according to China’s National Immigration Administration.
Tourism represents a significant part of the Italian economy. In 2019, the tourism sector’s total contribution was roughly 13 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product, according to industry data.
Jelinic said the benefits from Chinese outbound tourism could extend to various economic sectors, including hospitality, direct services to tourists, the Made in Italy sector, retail, luxury, food and wine.■