Italian State Tourism Board is re-entering the India market with full force in 2018 by working with travel agents for joint promotions and targeting an approximate 10-15 per cent growth.
After maintaining a low profile for a few years in the Indian market, the Italian State Tourism Board has announced a revamped marketing strategy to attract Indian travellers to Italy. “The last figures which we have are from 2015, wherein we received 4,27,000 Indian visitors for more than one million nights, registering an increase of 49 per cent over 2014”, informs Salvator Ianniello, Representative—India, Italian Tourism Board at a recently organised three-city roadshow in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
He says, “For few years we maintained a low profile in the Indian market for unavoidable reasons and could not go too far in terms of promotions. However, this year is a significant one for us, wherein we are looking to conduct roadshows and joint promotions with tour operators in India. We are very happy to join hands with Embassy of Italy to conduct promotions in lieu of the 70-years of bilateral relations between India and Italy. This year we are dedicating our focus on the luxury travellers from India, expecting it to grow by 10-15 per cent.”
“We are looking to conduct roadshows with tour operators in India. We are very happy to join hands with Embassy of Italy to conduct promotions in lieu of the 70-years of bilateral relations between India and Italy”
The tourism board plans to conduct its own campaign and follow it up with training sessions for tour operators. Ianniello adds, “We have also launched the Indian Tour Operators Council of Italy (ITCOI) which will be instrumental to understand the needs of the Indian market and its travellers and we will be able to provide our inputs to achieve the goals. Six companies including Cox & Kings, Thomas Cook, Mercury Travel, Active Holidays, Easy Go and KUONI are a part of this council.”
In terms of source markets, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata remain the top markets for the destination, but the destination also receives travellers from the interiors, mainly the Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Ianniello explains that for group travel, the average duration of stay is 3-4 days; for individual travellers from the middle-class bracket is 9-10 nights; while for high-end clients it’s about 12-21 days. He further adds that The Embassy of Italy has announced a 48-hour turnover time for visa issuance to Indian travelers, which will boost the numbers from India.
“Today, apart from the popular destinations like Rome, Florence, Venice, Siena, Verona etc, other offbeat destinations have gained more interest. If a travel agent wants to maintain a sustainable growth then they have to be well-informed about the various destinations in a country since the Indian traveller today is equipped with knowledge and is mature,” adds Ianniello.