Travel Profile (total)

  Yr/Yr % Chg
Visitor Spending (2016p) $326 million -
California Market Share (2015) 19.6% -
Visitors to California (2016p) 177,000 -
2017 Visitation Forecast (% change vs. 2016p) 173,000 -2.0%
2021 Visitation Forecast (% change vs. 2016p) 187,000 +5.6%
2021 Spending Forecast $350 million -

(updated May 2017)
U.S. Department of Commerce; Tourism Economics 

Leisure Travel Profile (80% of total)  

Vacation/Holiday 92% 142
Hotel/Motel 71% 109
Average Length of Stay - Nights 12.7 77
Average Spend Per Trip $1,804 98
Average Destinations Visited Per Trip 4.2 135
Average Party Size 1.8 118
Travel with Children 10.8% 80

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce; CIC Research, Inc.



Market Conditions

Italy GDP Quarterly Growth Rate

Expected GDP growth of 0.8 percent in 2016, 0.9 percent in 2017.

Italy’s third quarter GDP surprised on the upside, as the economy grew faster than expected by the markets and accelerated from the previous quarter, on the back of expanding domestic demand. Nevertheless, growth remained weak overall with contradictory signs: in October, consumer confidence declined, while economic sentiment improved.

Unemployment declined to 11.7 percent in 2016 from a 12.6 percent in 2014.

  Check current exchange rates on

  • Over the last 12 months, the exchange rate was even more stable than the preceding 12 months with a low of 1.03603 and a high of 1.15272

Sources: International Monetary Fund,, ISTAT,



Competitive Landscape


Market Barriers

  • Florida and Caribbean
  • New York and the U.S. east coast
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Southeast Asia
  • Further appreciation of the U.S. dollar will increase cost of travel to the United States
  • Lack of year-round direct flights to California
  • Vacation month for most of Italians is August, when airfares and hotel rates are higher
  • Italians currently pay the highest airfare in Europe to California, reinforcing the perception of California as an expensive destination



Risk Factors


Government stability and immigration are the two biggest risk factors to be aware of. On Dec. 4, 2016, Italian voters rejected a constitutional amendment to reform the powers of parliament and various levels of local goverment. A decisive ‘no’ vote was heard loud and clear by Italian voters and Prime Minister Renzi promptly resigned his post leading to another round of leadership turnover in Italy.






  • 3 weekly nonstops on Alitalia into Los Angeles
  • 986 weekly nonstop seats
  • First low-cost airlines crossing the Atlantic will launch in 2017 (WOW, Norwegian, Iceland Air); Millennials are expected to be attracted by these new opportunities
  • Planning time frame: up to 6 months
  • Booking time frame: January–May for trips between May to October with peak in August
  • More than 60 percent of travel to California is booked through traditional tour operators and travel agencies, with remaining booking through online travel agencies and directly with airlines and car rental companies
  • Over 60 tour operators package California, offering escorted and tailor-made trips, including fly and drive (car, motorbikes) and fly and train



Other Market Insights

  • Market:
    • Disintermediation is growing
    • Retailer travel agents booking directly with U.S. suppliers; hotels and airlines, as well as consumer, booking all basic travel components online
      • Tour operators that are able to book tailor-made itineraries are still doing well and honeymoon packages are among the best sellers for them
  • Product Experience:
    • California is an established honeymoon destination
      • Considered the preferred honeymoon destination in in Italy
      • In general these luxury or upscale packages are combined with: New York, Las Vegas and the National Parks; Hawaii, Polynesia and Cook Islands; Around the world trips all with a stopover in California.
  • Audience:
    • Italians’ propensity to travel is increasing
      • Italians’ propensity to travel increased in 2016: according to the “Osservatorio Confindustria – Istituto Piepoli,” a reliable Italian tourism and travel research institution, the index of propensity to travel improved again in 2016, passing from 66 to 69 points and increased three points over 2015
    • Bleisure trips now common practice
      • According to a survey conducted by CWT, the top bleisure cities in U.S. are Orlando and Miami, followed by New York, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco
    • Millennials now have more incentives to visit California
      • First low-cost airlines crossing the Atlantic will launch in 2017; Millennials are expected to be attracted by these new opportunities

Sources: ASTOI (Official Association of Italian Tour Operators); Carlson Wagonlit Travel reserach department; direct survey conducted among 15 top Italian tour operators.



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