Summer 2021: Italians’ Holidays in COVID19 Times

Among the 67% of Italians who will go on vacation this summer, 85% will stay in Italy, especially to support the Italian economy and try to make a simpler vacation, given the restrictive measures. These are some of the evidences that emerged from the research conducted by BVA Doxa on a sample of 1000 individuals over 18 years in Italy on the propensity to travel in 2021, particular thinking about summer holidays, and the reasons that guide choices and preferences in times of COVID-19. The research, carried out online (CAWI), was presented during the BIT (International Tourism Exchange) event organized by Fiera Milano.

Overall, 67% of Italians are thinking of taking summer holidays this year (for 32% certainly yes and 34% probably yes) and of these 85% will remain in Italy. These are some of the data that emerged from the BVA Doxa research presented by Cristina Liverani, Special Projects Unit Manager BVA Doxa during the BIT Digital Edition 2021 event organized by Fiera Milano. During the event, the main trends in the tourism sector were discussed, as well as topics of interest to all the companies and professionals of the sector.

PREDISPOSITION TO TRAVEL – If in December 2020 the predisposition of Italians to travel abroad for vacation was 31% (very and quite probable), in April 2021, probably thanks to the higher awareness of the difficult situation in which we are still living, the figure drops, with a share of 26% of those who will travel abroad for holidays.

However, Covid19 is not a good enough reason to give up on holidays. Indeed, 67% will certainly or probably go on vacation in the coming months of 2021 and, of these, 85% will remain in Italy. An important share, however, admits that they will book last minute, just before leaving (43%), while 15% have already booked at least one accommodation facility, means of transport or extras, and 42% will book in the upcoming months.

AMONG THE MAIN BARRIERS, THE PANDEMIC – However, 23% of Italians probably or certainly won’t go on vacation this year, and among the reasons there is above all the fear of the risk of contagion (43% of those who don’t think they will go on vacation). The share of those who admit that they do not want to organize a holiday under restrictive conditions that would make the experience unpleasant is also significant: they are 33% of those who will not go on holiday, and even 47% of young people between 18- 35 years. Among the reasons indirectly linked to the pandemic, the economic difficulties: 32% will not go on vacation to avoid having to face the costs, a share that increases especially in the 50-64 age group, where those who are held back by economic reasons rise to 43%.

A VERY MUCH NEEDED HOLIDAY – But what role do holidays play this year, especially in light of the period we are experiencing? 47% of Italians say they need it even more than in the past, especially due to Covid19 and the physical and psychological consequences that the pandemic has brought. To admit it are mainly women (50%) and young people between 25 and 44 years (54%). In fact, the pandemic has not only increased the need to escape and go on vacation compared to before, but it also has practical consequences in the choice and organization of the vacation itself. When planning their holidays, 29% will try to take into consideration less frequented destinations and periods, 21% will prefer the destinations closest to home or in Italy, while 20% will certainly consider their financial possibilities.

DESTINATIONS AND ACCOMODATION FACILITIES – Although some choices may have changed due to the context in which we find ourselves, some preferences remain stable. Definitely clear is the preference for seaside resorts (indicated by 74% of respondents), even if 15% will choose an itinerant holiday, 13% will visit a city of art and 10% will go to small villages. In the choice of accommodation facilities, the preference for their second home or possibly a rented house emerges (53%), while 37% will go to hotels and 22% to farm holidays. To move and go to the place where they will spend their holidays, 83% will use the car.

EVERYTHING IS ORGANIZED ONLINE – Digital emerges as a tool to rely on for the search of information and for the organization of holidays, a change certainly already underway before the pandemic. To date, 40% of Italians are looking for locations or information for organizing holidays online, on websites or blogs of organizations or structures. Almost equal the share of those who read online reviews of other tourists or travelers who have had the same experience (39%) or who rely on the advice of relatives or friends (35%). A smaller, but still significant, share relies instead on travel and holiday-themed articles or magazines that they happen to read (19%), but it is above all the Baby Boomers who continue to prefer media other than digital. The population gap is even more marked when we focus on the share of Italians who say they are informed through social media advertising (9%) and TV advertising (6%): they are in fact mostly Millennials.

Not only does digital emerge among the most used channels for the search for information and, in general, for the organization, but it is also a channel from which one is influenced: 35% is influenced on the choice of places to visit, the 31% on the structure, 24% on the type of restaurant in which to eat.

CHOOSING ITALY TO SUPPORT LOCAL ECONOMY – Among the Italians who will move to go on vacation this summer, as many as 85% declare that they will stay in Italy, supporting the fact that, despite the desire for vacation and escape, the context we are experiencing is still a strong driver of influence in the choice of type of holiday. In fact, if for 26% traveling to Italy is a consolidated habit even before the pandemic, 53% does it to support the Italian economy for the restart of activities or because they believe it is a great opportunity to get to know our country. And again: 36% admit that, these days, staying in Italy is a way to have a simpler and more relaxing holiday than going abroad (especially for the required procedures), and in fact 33% feel safer to remain within our borders due to the unstable situation (even if young people tend to be less convinced of it). Only 9% see the fact of staying in Italy as “a constraint”, a share that however rises among the very young (19%) who evidently feel more driven by the desire to go abroad.



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