26th Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition
12–14 March 2019 • Expocentre, Moscow

Italy: Russians can’t get enough

Italy and tourism go hand in hand – a fact Russian tourists know extremely well. A generous number of daily flights to five major Italian airports, in tandem with a rock-solid tourism sector, makes the nation a favourite outbound destination for the Russian market.
Italy: Russians can’t get enough
Around a million Russians head to Italy every year. The country also boasts a massive number of repeat visitors too. Giovanni Bastianelli, Executive Director of the Italian State Tourist Board, took some time out at MITT 2017 to give us the lowdown on why Russians can’t get enough of Italian holidays.

Giovanni, is Russia one of Italy’s key markets?

Certainly, and we even had an increase in Russian tourists last year, likely due to the restrictions in Turkey.

In terms of regions, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, and Toscana are the most popular with Russian visitors.

They come in Italy in the summer for six and a half nights, and in winter for skiing, and in May for the May Day vacations. They also come for New Year and Christmas.

In 2016, we found Russian tourists spent 2.5% more than 2015. Russians are big spenders in Italy – the second-highest after the United States.

50% of tourists are aged between 35 and 55 years old. They are active and searching for new experiences, and they tend to book late. They like baths and spas, and gastro-tourism is a frequent favourite.

Most importantly, most of them come back. 45% of Russians who come have already been to Italy, which is higher than average. Russians come back more often than visitors from other countries.

Are there specific tourism products that are attracting tourists in 2017?

Gastro-tourism and historical events. Tourism to medieval villages is very important for Italy at the moment – we even have a new hashtag for it!

This type of tourism is popular especially with Russian visitors as they like tradition and beauty.

How is Airbnb affecting the travel industry in Italy?

It can be good or bad. It’s a big problem in the cities, but at the same time it can help the smaller destinations develop.

We don’t consider Airbnb part of our tourism strategy. It can help developing countries with young tourism industries, but for countries like France, Spain, and Italy, with well-developed tourism infrastructures, it can be a big problem - particularly if it’s not done well.

What exciting developments can we expect to see in tourism in Italy next year?

We would like to pay more attention to our guests’ physical and mental well-being, so we would like to create a complete feeling of well-being on their trips to Italy.

How was MITT 2017 for you?

It was very good, very interesting for Italy. We noticed a huge interest in us. However, it would be good to further develop the commercial side of MITT.

Russia and Italy have a close tourism relationship, so it can be difficult to sell when you are so close!