Italy counts on return of Chinese visitors, says tourist board representative
People walk past tourist information in various languages including Chinese near the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, on March 26, 2023. (Xinhua/Jin Mamengni)
"The fact that Italy, as well as many other European countries, has been authorized as a destination for group tours from China is important news that we have been waiting for a long time," said Cristiano Varotti, chief representative of Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT) in China.
ROME, April 3 (Xinhua) -- There is a growing inclination among Chinese citizens to travel to international destinations and this is a significant development for Italy's tourism sector, a representative of Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT) has said.
Cristiano Varotti, chief representative of ENIT in China, told Xinhua in a recent interview, commenting on China's resumption of outbound group travel to this European country with abundant tourist resources.
People walk past tourist information in various languages including Chinese near the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, on March 26, 2023.(Xinhua/Jin Mamengni)
"The fact that Italy, as well as many other European countries, has been authorized as a destination for group tours from China is important news that we have been waiting for a long time," he said.
China has unveiled a second list of 40 destinations, including Italy, to which travel agencies and online tourism service providers can offer group tours from March 15.
Varotti said he was confident that the coming months will confirm Italy's position as a top travel destination for Chinese citizens. "The pre-pandemic numbers of Chinese tourists in Italy were significant, with annual growth rates in the double digits and great prospects for the future," he said.
This photo taken on March 27, 2023 shows a Chinese sign at the Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy.(Xinhua/Jin Mamengni)
Regarding the role played by Chinese tourists in the development of Italy's tourism industry, the representative said he was convinced that the Chinese tourist market has the greatest potential globally and that the impact on Italy's tourism industry could be really significant.
"There is a great room for growth. Even in terms of the composition of spending by Chinese tourists abroad, it is a market that has yet to reveal its full potential," said Varotti.
Varotti listed many elements in Italy's rich tourism offer that could make it an indispensable destination for Chinese tourists: the great art cities, with their historic monuments and shopping streets, as well as its natural wonders and experiences to get a taste of the Italian lifestyle.
He said he was also convinced that the new influx of Chinese tourists will benefit not only Italy's traditional destinations, such as Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice, but also new destinations, such as Sicily and the islands, the Alpine resorts or the small towns, which offer authentic and customized travel experiences.
People pose for a group photo to celebrate the resumption of Air China direct flights between Rome and Beijing at the Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy, March 27, 2023. (Xinhua/Jin Mamengni)
In order to welcome the return of Chinese tourists, Italy's preparation work is ongoing, said Varotti, adding that the ENIT has begun to work with Chinese tour operators to restructure their offerings and develop new products.
"We are planning to stage a roadshow in China in the coming months to meet Chinese companies in person and to make ourselves available to them. There will be a lot of work to do in the coming months," he added.