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Italy Market Profile

In an Italian market in which consumers’ propensity to travel is steadily on the rise, California remains a particularly desirable destination for newlyweds, who favor tailor-made itineraries booked through tour operators. In general, these and other luxury or upscale packages combine California with other U.S. destinations. However, solo travel and online bookings are on the rise. Data updated as of February 2020.

Market Profile

$471 Million
Preliminary Visitor Spending, 2019
$536 Million*
Forecasted Visitor Spending, 2023
*Reflects pre-coronavirus forecast.
Market Share (U.S. Spend), 2018

Travel & Planning

Airlift (2019)

  • 14 weekly nonstop flights
  • 3,800 weekly nonstop seats
  • 3 entry points (Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco)


  • Average planning timeframe: 4 to 5 months
  • Average booking timeframe: 3 to 4 months
  • 60% of trips are booked through tour operators and travel agencies
  • Direct bookings through online tour operators are increasing year over year and currently represent 20% of bookings
  • Peak travel month: August

Visitor Characteristics

Sought-After Travel Experiences

  • History, culture and arts: More than 30% of international trips are driven by the desire for cultural experiences.
  • Solo travel: Traveling alone is a new trend, especially among young generations and millennials. In response, tour operators have started to create dedicated products for these travelers.
  • Escorted tours: Tour operators offer a large number of escorted tours due to demand among Italians — particularly for honeymooners and those visiting the U.S. for the first time.
  • Experiential tourism: Italians seek authentic experiences. Curious and active travelers want to form a connection with destinations through a complete immersion in local customs.

How to reach Italian Travelers

  • Digital Media
  • Tour Operators

Market Conditions

From January to September 2019, Italy’s GDP increased with long-term growth rates projected to trend around 0.8% in 2020. Exports increased by +2.5% and residential household spending increased by +0.9% in the third quarter of 2019. Propensity to save increased by +0.8% compared to the second quarter of the year. Labor market conditions have been improving throughout the year; in the first nine months of 2019, employment grew by +0.5%.

Competitive Landscape

The U.S. is the leading long-haul destination for Italians and continues to show strong growth potential. California’s top competitors for Italian leisure travel business are: New York and the East Coast, Florida, Canada, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Almost half of Italian residents take at least one vacation per year. Additionally, Air Italy and Alitalia will soon offer more direct flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Italians perceive California as a long-haul destination and a once-in-a-lifetime trip, as they currently pay the highest airfare in Europe to fly directly to California. Additionally, Italians are very sensitive to security issues and this can affect their propensity to travel.


  • DIIO
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis, NTTO, Dean Runyan, Tourism Economics
  • U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office, “Survey of International Air Travelers”, CIC Research