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Tourism is an important resource of the national economy and its development has a relevant impact on the economic activity of the manufacturing and service sectors.
The statistics on the tourism offer and demand outline a summary of Italy's attractive and reception power, which is known for its extraordinary wealth in terms of coastal, mountain areas and cities of art.
In 2018, In Italy, there were 216,141 collective tourist accommodation establishments (hotels and other collective accommodation establishments), with more than 5.1 million bed-places, an increase of 5.5% and 1.5% respectively, compared to 2017.
Between 2005 and 2018, the number of bed-places increased by 17,5%, with other forms of tourist accommodations growing more than the hotel sector (22.8% and 11.2% respectively). In 2018, the share of bed-places in other collective accommodation establishments reached
55.8% of the national total.
In 2018, the number of hotels was of 32,898 units, a slight decrease compared to 2017 (-0.3%) and with more than 2.2 million bed-places, a value which, on the other hand, was slightly increasing (+1, 0%), compared to the previous year. The number of other collective accommodation establishments was of 183,243 units, a strong increase compared to 2017 (+6.6%) and with more than 2.8 million bed-places (+1.9%). Overall, there were approximately 428.8 million presences (among residents and non-residents in Italy) in collective tourist accommodation establishments, with an increase of 8 millions compared to 2017 (+ 2.0%) and approximately 128.1 million arrivals which increase of about 5 millions compared to 2017 (+4.0%).
The average length of stay in the accommodation was 3.35 nights, a slight decrease compared to the previous year, with values decreasing both for residents in Italy (-0.08 nights) and for residents abroad (-0.05 nights). These values confirm the trend in place since 2005 and the contraction of the total length of stay, in the period from 2005 to 2018, was 0.67 nights. In 2018, the accommodation demand of the resident population was made up of 62 million and 861 thousand trips were made on the national territory, for holiday and business reasons (+ 17.2% compared to 2017), for a total of 310 million and 186 thousand overnight stays in collective and private accommodations.
Holidays represented 89.6% of the total trips. In particular, 47.3% was made up of short stays (1-3 nights) while 42.3% were long holidays (4 nights or more). Business trips made up the remaining 10.4% of trips.
In terms of overnight stays, 94.1% of nights concerned holiday trips and 5.9% concerned business trips. The average duration of the stays in Italy were equal to 5.2 and 2.8 nights, respectively for holidays and for business.
In 2018, the North-East, with over 1.8 million bed-places (35.4% of the national total), was the subdivision with the largest accommodation capacity, followed by the Centre and South and Islands subdivisions, with over 1, 2 million bed-places each (approximately 25% of the national total). The North-East was the area with the highest number of bed-places per thousand inhabitants (155.4); all its Regions exceeded the number of bed-places per thousand inhabitants, recorded at a national level (84.5). The North-West recorded the lowest value among the subdivisions (48.9), with the exception of the Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste which, with 458.7 bed-places per thousand inhabitants, occupied the first place in the ranking. In the Centre, only Lazio had a number of bed-places per thousand inhabitants, which was lower than the national one (66,3).
In 2018, the regions with the highest number of tourist attendances (of residents and non-residents) were: Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Toscana, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia. These regions welcomed a total of more than 248 million people (more than 58% of the national total).
With regard to the total trips, in 2018, the most visited regions by residents were Toscana, Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Veneto and Puglia, who hosted 55% of tourist flows, with shares that varied from 7,1% in Puglia and 12,1% in Toscana. The latter was the favourite destination for short holidays (16,1% of the total short holidays in Italy), while, among the long stays, at the top of the ranking there were Puglia and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (respectively 10,8% and 10,2% of the total of long holidays in Italy). For business trips, the most frequent destinations were Lombardia and Lazio: together, they accommodated 35% of the total business trips of residents on the national territory.
Strong territorial differences remained in the propensity to travel: in all periods of the year and for all types of trips, the population residing in the South and in the Islands travelled less, compared to the population residing in other Italian Regions. With the exception of the winter period, during which residents in the Centre travelled more (24.1%), participation in tourism was greater in the North; in particular, in the North-East in spring (38.1%) and in autumn (26.2%), in the North-West in summer (52%).
In 2018, in Europe there were an average of 62.9 bed-places per thousand inhabitants in collective accommodations. Croatia had by far the highest value (271.7), followed by Greece, Austria, Luxembourg and Cyprus, which exceeded 100 bed-places per thousand inhabitants, followed by Malta, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden. In the period from 2000 to 2018, in Europe, the accommodation capacity, compared to the resident population, grew from 48.3 to 62,9 bed-places per thousand inhabitants. Italy also registered a considerable increase, from 68.7 bed-places per thousand inhabitants in 2000 to 84.5 beds per thousand inhabitants in 2018. In the last year, most EU countries recorded an average length of stay of clients in collective tourist accommodation establishments of less than 4 nights. Italy ranked eighth (3.35 nights), exceeding the average length of stay recorded at the EU level (3.05 nights). At the top of the ranking, there were Cyprus, Malta, Croatia and Denmark, which recorded an average length of stay of more than 4 nights.
In 2017, 47.9% of European residents aged 15 and over went for at least one long holiday trip (4 nights or more). The Netherlands (75.4%) and Romania (10.2%), respectively, were at the first and last place in the ranking. Italy (36.3%) remained below both the European average and the values recorded in Germany (61.4%), Austria (59.7%) and France (57.4%), countries with a tourism that is historically higher than the European average.