MILAN - This year the world has changed. The world of tourism, too: new schedules and a different time-to-market. But Italy always stays top of mind in the wishes of tourists the world over. BitMilano is working for a 2021 edition which, with its new dates at fieramilanocity from 9-11 May, will further enhance this “Italy effect” by presenting an innovative programme, in line with new traveller demands.

But what do these new demands consist of? What new trends are being thrown up in light of the “new normal”? First of all, a new experiential concept of luxury that looks at the rediscovery of tucked away little alcoves, villages, and a search for accommodation such as boutique hotels and charming locations, not even hotels, necessarily.

“We work with nearly all the Italian regions and we hope to find villas and apartments with a swimming pool”, affirms Massimiliano Mostardi from Villa Rent Italy (UK). “We would like to explore the Tyrrhenian Coast and the islands as new destinations. It’s still too early to make any predictions, but we are sure that the type of structure that we deal with will be increasingly attractive”.

A tailor-made luxury, in short, which in the future will require an even closer collaboration between Italian operators and international buyers. “We are an operator specialising in personalised luxury experiences, exclusively in Italy ”, adds Juana Barbera Diago from Bambivva Travel (Spain). “To ensure the very high quality of the product we offer, we personally inspect all the locations we propose and we want to be able to do it again as soon as possible to enrich our programme with new proposals. In fact, I would like the current selection to lead to a growth in proposals in the luxury sector”.

Ora Rotenberg of Ora Italia Tours (Israel) even goes so far as to speak of a ‘new renaissance’: “In Italy ‘new’ means reborn from the old. It’s the great strength of this destination and I’m almost addicted to it, in a good way. Countryside, nature and ancient villages, the eternal Italy that we all dream of, will also lead the recovery”.

However, traditional destinations such as art cities continue to be in great demand, to which there is a great desire to return, but in new ways and also alongside the request for greater attention to services and an improvement in technologies and professional skills. “What I miss most are the emotions: going back to visit friendly suppliers against a backdrop of fabulous landscapes” , comments Irina Korabelnikova from Jet Travel (Russia). “What I expect, on the other hand, is to find new technologies related to safety: from disinfection to the management of distancing. The emergency has changed the booking times and we can't wait to go back to buying products for the summer, such as sea and mountains, lakes, spas and excursions, as we are already doing for other Mediterranean markets and those outside Europe”.

Also for Natalia Divirs from Intourist, “...we expect to receive more requests for destinations that are already famous and known in our market. For example, the best known and most visited seaside destinations or art cities, but to be experienced in a new fashion, with different accommodation. Most important for us, is the availability, position, and location in strategic points for tourists. We are always looking for new facilities with these characteristics”.

In fact, art cities are also among the destinations that international buyers hope to be able to buy back soon, especially on new markets, as Zoran Gjorshevski of International Ana Tours (Northern Macedonia) agrees, “Ours is an emerging market and travellers are very interested in classic destinations. But for 2021, we are also seeing a demand for new destinations. We expect Italian operators to relaunch with new proposals and to take advantage of the reorganisation required by the new situation to improve some of the services”.

If emerging markets represent an important card to play in the recovery, the historical ones will continue to contribute significantly to volumes, often turning to repeater customers looking for unusual destinations. “For the reopening we are looking above all to Piedmont and Campania”, explains Guillaume Vaudey de Vaudrey from Cosmopolis (France). “Italy is a very diversified country, province by province, and we treat each destination differently. If I had to find a common theme among the travellers, I’d say it was an interest in culture. In the spring we will resume activities and focus on this asset to return to a position of growth”.

In the perspective of the ‘new normal’, the MICE sector should not be overlooked either. Increasing digitisation and ever greater flexibility of locations is what international operators in this sector expect from the Italian proposals. “The professionals in our sector have shown great resilience”, concludes Gael De Clarens of The MICE Agency (Hungary), “and are aware that they must plan for a different tomorrow. The MICE market will start again from a national level and then, gradually expand, with short trips to neighbouring countries. We also expect Italy to be able to supply products of this type”.

For international buyers, next spring will be the best time to resume buying Italy as a destination. And, from 9 to 11 May, BIT will be ready to welcome them in complete safety at fieramilanocity. 



December 17, 2020 — Gaurav Khanna