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Sustainable tourism in Italy - statistics & facts

Sustainable tourism refers to the idea of having a positive impact on the environment, economy, and society while traveling. By encouraging the use of sustainable transport, as well as supporting local cultures and traditions, it aims to combat tourism practices that could negatively influence both the planet and local communities. In Italy, overbuilding and speculative building, even more than pollution and overtourism, were perceived as the main environmental issues caused by tourism in 2021.

How do Italians feel about sustainable tourism?

According to a recent study, the awareness of sustainable tourism in Italy rose significantly over the last decade, with 85 percent of respondents stating they were familiar with this concept in 2021. That year, roughly six in ten polled Italians claimed to consider being environmentally friendly when organizing a trip. Meanwhile, traveling by train was seen as the leading alternative transport to car travel among Italians that were planning holidays in 2021.

Speaking of eco-friendly transport, tourists cycling on holiday in Italy spent approximately 4.6 billion euros prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2019. Meanwhile, a survey published that year revealed that bed and breakfasts were the preferred travel accommodations among people hiking in Italy in 2020.

What is “agritourism”?

Another popular form of sustainable tourism in Italy is “agritourism”, this term mainly refers to tourists that stay in farmhouses offering a wide range of farm activities, as well menus based on local and organic foods. The number of agritourism facilities in Italy reached over 20 thousand in 2020, slightly increasing over the previous year. That being said, the number of tourist arrivals in Italian agritourism facilities dropped by over 40 percent between 2019 and 2020 due to the impact of the health crisis. Overall, Tuscany was the Italian region reporting the highest tourism volume at agritourism facilities in 2020, followed by Trentino-South Tyrol and Piedmont.

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