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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. Tour operators who book tailor-made itineraries generally perform well, with honeymoon packages among the best sellers for them. In general, luxury or upscale packages combine California with other U.S. destinations.


  • May through October (with a peak in August) is the most popular time to travel, but more are looking outside of this timeframe to travel.
  • Nearly 50 percent of Italians take one vacation per year.
  • “Fly and Drive” packages have become increasingly popular.
  • California is seen as a premier honeymoon and romance destination for couples, with packages often combined with other destinations.

Italy Profile

In-Person Trips, 2018
$356 Million
Visitor Spending, 2018

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

  • In 2018, GDP is expected to increase by 1.1% in real terms. In 2019, GDP is estimated to increase by 1.3%. In 2019, exports will increase by 1.6% and imports will grow by 2.6%, both are expected to accelerate in 2019 (3.2% and 3.5% respectively).
  • Residential household consumption expenditure is expected to grow by 0.9% in 2018 and accelerate in 2019 (1.2%). The stabilization in employment and wages increase will support households purchasing power. Investments are expected to progressively decelerate in 2018 (+3.9%) and in 2019 (+3.2%).
  • Labor market conditions will improve over the forecasting period. Employment growth is expected to stabilize at 0.9% in 2018 and in 2019. At the same time, the rate of unemployment will continue to decrease in 2019.

Exchange Rate

  • 1 Euro equals 1.1523 U.S. Dollar
  • Over the last 12 months, the exchange rate was stable compared to the preceding year with a low of 1.11 and a high of 1.20.

Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • 9 weekly non stop flights
  • 2,700 weekly non stop seats (+120.6%)
  • In April 2019 Air Italy will start operating 4 weekly year-round flights.
  • Norwegian now offers year-round airlift to Los Angeles three times a week.


  • Planning timeframe: up to six months
  • Booking timeframe: January–May for trips between May and October with peak in August. However, Italians have started taking their vacations in other periods of the year to look for more attractive offers.
  • More than 60% of travel to California is booked through traditional tour operators and travel agencies with fly & drive packages being very popular.
  • Direct booking through OTAs is increasing with a total of 7 online travel agencies (OTAs) available. Travel related e-commerce in Italy is growing at a rate of 9% and represents 20% of the entire value of travel and tourism expenditure.

Market Barriers & Risk Factors

Competitive Landscape

Other Market Insights


  • The market for Italian tourism to the U.S. continues to show strong growth potential and is the first long-haul destination. Italy ranks as the twelfth largest overall inbound market to the United States and the fourth in Europe after the U.K., Germany and France. Italy continued to grow by 7% in 2018.


  • U.S. is a prime long-haul destination for Italian travelers and California accounts for about 22% of Italian arrivals with LAX receiving 8% of all Italian visitors coming to the U.S.
  • California is considered the preferred honeymoon destination for Italians and tailored packages are combined with New York, Las Vegas, National Parks, Hawaii, Polynesia or Cook Islands. Most around the world trips include a stopover in California.
  • “Fly & Drive” packages are very popular. “Fly & Train” packages are also published in tour operator brochures.


  • Italians like to travel as couples or as groups of family and friends.
  • Almost half of the Italian population takes at least one vacation per year. Fun and relaxation are the main holiday drivers in Italy and abroad, however, history, culture and arts account for 30.6% of international trips.
  • Since solo travel is a trend new to the Italian market, some tour operators have started to create dedicated products for single travelers.
  • Increased airlift and the addition of low-cost carriers with non stop service to California projects an increase of Millennial visitors.
  • The recent introduction in 2018 of light fares to the U.S. (only carry-on baggage) is opening the market to price sensitive travelers.



  • ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics)
  • DIIO
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics
  • CIC Research, Inc.
  • GFK Market Research conducted in April 2017
  • L’Agenzia di Viaggi travel trade magazine
  • US Commercial Service Insights