Venice, Italy - The tourist presence in Venice (overnighters times number of nights spent in an accommodation facility) grew of another 5% in 2013 and almost reached the amount of 9.8 million (500thousand more than 2012): this is the most important information which emerged from the Annual Tourism Survey presented yesterday by the Deputy Mayor for Tourism, Ms Angela Giovanna Vettese, at a press conference held at the City of Venice. The survey includes figures collected by City Department for Tourism from the Venice Tourist Board (about overnighters), as well as from different bodies managing infrastructures and local services (such Port, Airport, Tourist bus traffic, public transport, etc.) and cultural institutions. It is regarded by the City Administration as an essential tool to understand tourist flows and develop strategies to manage them correctly, as the distribution of tourist presence is quite uneven in the different areas ruled by the City of Venice (historic centre, mainland, islands).
In fact, the historic centre remains the visitors' top destination (with more than 6.4million of tourist presence), if compared to Mestre and Marghera (over 2.8million) and the Lido (over 550thousand), although last year was a good one overall. However, a closer look to the figures reveals interesting trends: tourists stay longer in accommodation other than hotels (3.13 average number of overnights), particularly on the Lido (3.81), rather than in hotels (2.10) and the shorter stays are registered by hotels on the Mainland (1.68). This is why Deputy Mayor Vettese thinks it is crucial to foster B&Bs and scattered hotels in Mestre and Marghera, since they are able to attract people staying longer, and to invest on the Lido, especially in the field of wellness.
The leading role in terms of tourist presence in 2013 was played by visitors coming from the Usa; they were followed by the French (who generally stayed longer), Germans and the British, whereas the Spanish kept on diminishing, as in the last few years. The presence of Italians grew, but less than foreing tourists (only 3.5%). “The economic crisis hits the Western world but not the Eastern – Ms Vettese added – therefore I think we should be expecting a dramatic growth of visitors coming from Bric countries and Asia in the next future.”
According to Ms Vettese, having to face such huge numbers, Venice really is in a dilemma today. She put some very tricky questions about how liveable the city still is and how much its residents are actually gaining from tourism. But she also gave some positive answers, by explaing the City's strategies to manage the tourists' growth. “First of all – she said – we need to attract more visitors in the off-season months and this is possible if we keep on organizing high quality cultural events especially during those periods. This, in fact, is exactly what the 2013 figures tell us: cultural tourists peaked between April and May and September and October, wheras the 'average turist' came in July and August”.
Furthermore, Ms Vettese thinks Venice's cultural institutions should continue to invest in the new outfitting of their museums, in order to attract visitors in less known parts of the city. The proof that this is winning strategy is given by what happened in the San Stae district lately: after the Fondazione Musei Civici renovated some of its museums there, not only these ones registered an increase of visitors, but also the Church located in the area did.
But also smaller actions can help to spread tourists around the town, according to Ms Vettese. For the second year – she told - the City Department for Tourism issued a map called “Fuorirotta”, which collects information, advices and ideas for travelers looking for a sustainable, original and supportive tourism. This map is part of a larger project called “Detourism”, which aims at suggesting ways to understand how much more to see there is beyond the iconic Venice. Her Department is also working to renovate the old signage in the historic centre, which can be sometimes confusing. Finally, Ms Vettese thinks it is getting more and more important that the tourist coming to Venice is already prepared about his or her journey and an essential role in gathering correct information, booking services and buying tickets in advance is definitely played by the Internet. The new Venice tourist portal created to meet these needs is www.veniziaunica.it/en
Download the Annual Tourism Survey (Italian version only).
Venice, May 31st 2014 / cv