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Articles & publications • 2021-09-24

Italy is getting back on track

By Sonia Marceca and Giorgio Bianchi


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After almost two years of the corona pandemic, Italy seems to be on the verge of a new ‘golden era’. The investment boom in the hospitality sector, the recovery of domestic tourism demand, several hotels in the pipeline and some new openings are all positive signs that Italy is well on track for a full recovery expected by 2023/24.

International and national investors consider Italy an important market where there are still opportunities to be seized. Notably, it is arousing a substantial interest in the four most visited cities (also known as the big four): Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence where demand is driven by a strong interest in the historical and artistic heritage. These cities have what it takes to make suitable investments and generate good returns.

Rome takes the lead as being the most attractive city in Italy. According to ISTAT (National Institute of Statistics), in 2019, Rome and its province experienced about 11.4 million arrivals and 34.4 million overnight stays with a length of stay of about three nights. In the same year, Milan and its suburbs registered approximately 8 million arrivals and 16.4 million overnight stays with a length of stay of about two nights; Venice and its province recorded about 10 million arrivals and 38 million overnight stays with a length of stay between three to four nights; Florence and its province recorded about 5.3 million arrivals and 15.7 million overnight stays and a length of stay of about three nights.

The figures referenced above of course refer to the pre-pandemic situation. The sentiment of investors, operators and developers indicates that tourism demand and hotel performance will meet the figures of 2019 in 2023/2024 however opportunities must be taken now to be ready for the restart.

Currently, there are positive signals for a restart also by looking at the pipeline and upcoming projects; in the next three years, in Milan, about 1,400 rooms are foreseen and more than 100 new hotel projects are in the pipeline. In this regard, an important signal from the market refers to the interest towards alternative destinations which represents an attractive market for the new openings (e.g., Trieste, Bergamo, Bologna, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Livigno, Sondrio, etc).

Notwithstanding, to be more attractive and to face up to the pandemic, hotels must rethink about hospitality; hybridization will be a must and flexibility will be one of the key aspects for hotels, but some efforts should be done in terms of quality; there is a need to develop more managerial skills and improve the quality of service.

Italy has a real estate hotel asset value of about €117 billion. This is the result shown by the report Italian Real Estate Hotels Value conducted by World Capital and PKF hospitality group. The report estimated the value of the sea, mountain and city clusters by analysing more than 200 tourism locations and over one million rooms.

In terms of value, the big four cities contribute the most compared to the other cities, in fact, approximately 78% of the value comes from: Rome (34%), Milan (18,5%), Venice (16,1%) and Florence (9%). A similar trend is also confirmed in the first six months of this year, with almost 80% of the transactions located in the big four destinations focusing on the luxury sector. Thus, the research allows us to state that in terms of values, the pandemic has not affected the luxury and the lifestyle sector - which attracted the interest of national and international investors - but affected the mid-scale segment, which is suffering the most in comparison with the pre-pandemic period.

So, after almost two years of the pandemic, Italy is ready to get back on track with good opportunities.

Many of the above topics were discussed and presented during the 196+ forum Milan on 9 September 2021. The conference, hosted by PKF hospitality group, took place during the FuoriSalone in Milan in a hybrid format with both virtual and physical presentations and panel discussions.

Giorgio Bianchi

Managing Director | Head of Italy

PKF hospitality group


DL: +39 02 55012262

Sonia Marceca


PKF hospitality group


DL: +39 02 55012262

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