With 94 million tourists per year (2019) according with ENIT (The Italian Government Tourist Board), Italy is the fourth most visited country in international tourism arrivals. People mainly visit Italy for its rich culture, cuisine, history, fashion and art, its beautiful coastline and beaches its mountains, and priceless ancient monuments. Italy also contains more World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world.
Tourism is one of Italy’s fastest growing and most profitable industrial sectors, with an estimated revenue of €189.1 billion. As of 2019, the tourism industry contributed to employment in Italy with over 1.5 million jobs and this figure is expected to rise steadily until 2029. Similarly, tourism’s direct contribution as a share of – which consisted of 5.7 percent of the Italian gross domestic product in 2019 – is forecast to increase constantly during the next years.
The north of the country borders on the Alps, so in the winter months skiing is also a popular sport among tourists. South Tyrol is Italy’s most northerly province. Its capital and largest city is Bolzano (Bozen). German and Italian are both official languages of South Tyrol. The area, which lies in the heart of the Alps and is located in the centre of Europe, borders on Austria, Switzerland and the Italian provinces of Sondrio, Trento and Belluno. Moreover, South Tyrol together with the province of Trento and the federal state of Tyrol forms European Region Tyrol-South/Tyrol-Trentino, which is intended to promote cross-border social, economic and cultural cooperation. Covering an area of 7,400 km², South Tyrol is Italy’s largest province in terms of size and is classified as a mountain area.
Tourism plays a major role in South Tyrol’s economy, contributing over 8.2% to the local GDP with direct effects only, according to the result of the most recent assessment of the tourism satellite account (TSA), referring to the year 2005. In 2018, tourism in South Tyrol produced over 7.5 million arrivals and 33.3 million overnight stays. Tourism is one of the driving forces behind South Tyrol’s economy, in more than 10,000 accommodation facilities, 224,000 beds are available to tourists.
The majority of foreign holidaymakers come from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Germany accounts for nearly 50% of total visitors, followed by Italy (31.4%), Switzerland (5.1%), and Austria (3.1%). In recent years, however, significant increases in overnight stays of guests from countries further afield, such as the United States, have also been recorded.
The begin of the fast-growing tourism economy happened in the 1980s by german tourists, because of the natural environment of the mountains and also the weak Italian-Lire. Wintersport allows South Tyrol to be visited the whole year but 2/3 is still summer tourism. In the last decade, tourism has developed more in the valleys. The most visited communities are located in the Dolomites because in this area the touristic season is going on the whole year. The mean activity in the summer is hiking in the mountains and in the winter the people come to Southtyrol to ski.