Face to face with Maria Elena Rossi, Marketing and Promotion Director, Italian National Tourism Board

International tourism in Italy has grown rapidly in the last years, up to 210.7 million overnights in 2017, +32% since 2009. Moreover, Italy is the top international destination in the Schengen Area for Extra European Countries, with a significant growth from emerging markets. We asked Maria Elena Rossi – Director of Marketing and Promotion – ENIT (Italy’s DMO) how trends are evolving.

The trend is confirmed in 2018 and 2019 forecast from big data. Together with volumes, our key performance indicators are based on value growth: total expenditure of international tourists reached 41,7 billion euro in 2018 confirm a 6,5% growth of international expenditure.

Why is it important to partner with ITB China?

Being partner destination of ITB China 2019 is outstanding particularly because of the high calibre contacts that we can establish here. This leading industry trade event offers excellent opportunities for us to meet top Chinese buyers as well as maintain existing contacts and find new customers. We are very much looking forward to presenting our products in the Chinese market for the very first time.

Please tell us a little more about your marketing strategy and promotional initiatives for 2019.

ENIT promotes Italy as a global tourist destination both by marketing the different Regions and destinations and by developing a sustainable and balanced distribution during the whole year. Our strategy is focused on value growth, which implies market segmentation, investments both in leisure and the meeting industry, a stronger support for areas with potential, in particular Southern Italy. Matera being the European Cultural Capital in 2019 is an excellent opportunity to develop a value offer on the international markets of less known destinations. 2019 is the Italian year for slow tourism, focusing on our extraordinary and unique soft skills, food and wine, cultural and artistic heritage. Also, special interests such as cycling, hiking, golfing and, in general, active holidays are growing fast and are consistent with the sustainable development and value growth of Italian tourism in the Alps, the Apennines and the Italian Islands.

How are you celebrating ENIT’s 100th birthday?

This year we celebrate Leonardo da Vinci, which will inspire us to market innovative products on mature and emerging markets. Innovation and creativity will be part of all our marketing activities around the world, under the claim ‘Italy, A beauty to treasure’. Our contribution to a sustainable tourism development in Italy is the best way to celebrate 100 years of our national tourist board.

Photo: Maria Elena Rossi Marketing and Promotion Director, Italian National Tourism Board