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Lazio, luxury destination


The forum “Lazio, a luxury Destination” was held on 11 January 2022 at the Italian Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai. The goal is to illustrate the attraction potential that the Lazio Region can develop with respect to travelers from the Gulf area.

Speakers at the event were: Paolo Glisenti, general commissioner of Italy at EXPO 2020 Dubai; Valentina Corrado, Councilor for Tourism, Local Authorities, Urban Security, Local Police and Administrative Simplification of the Lazio Region; Quirino Briganti, coordinator of EXPO 2020 Dubai of the Lazio Region; Matteo Caroli, full professor of economics and management of international companies at Luiss; Giorgio Palmucci, president of ENIT; Marco Misischia, national president of CNA; Lavinia Biagiotti, president and CEO of Biagiotti Group; Fausto Palombelli, president of Unindustria, tourism and leisure industry section and Carlo Acampora, CEO of Grand Hotel Via Veneto.

Luxury tourism is pivotal for Italy, considering its growth potential and the satellite activities it involves. A high-end tourism market survey conducted in May 2021 by Bain & Company on behalf of Altagamma revealed that, in 2019 – the year the pandemic broke out – this particular segment, while involving less than 1% of accommodation facilities and only 3% of overnight stays, in terms of demand, actually generated 15% of the hospitality industry’s turnover and 25% of tourist expenditure in Italy. This niche of the tourism industry, whose turnover totalled 25 billion Euros, can soar to about 60 billion Euros in normal years (including both direct and indirect revenues), thus accounting for 3% of Italy’s GDP.

Aside from the economic impact, mainly driven by foreign tourists, high-end tourism helps enhance the image of Italy as a world destination and gives new momentum to the promotion and development of Made in Italy excellencies.Luxury tourists typically choose to visit Italy because of food and shopping. In this regard, the BCG survey commissioned by Altagamma in 2021 reveals that, among luxury tourists, Italy ranks first in terms of art cities, countryside towns/resorts, and experiences related to food & wine, art and culture. Italy enjoys excellent reputation, even when it comes to exclusive shopping and hospitality; indeed, it is one of luxury tourists’ most sought-after world destinations…

but what can we say about Lazio? How appealing can Lazio be (and further develop its potential in this regard) for tourists coming from the Gulf region?

The international forum “Lazio, a Luxury Destination”, organised by Lazio’s Regional Department for Tourism alongside the major stakeholders of the high-end tourism business, wants to answer both questions, clearly putting Rome in the spotlight – seen as it is one of the top five world destinations for non-European luxury tourists – but also shedding light on the region’s most evocative scenarios and on the potentially interesting experiences for tourists from the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. Leisure tourists coming from the Gulf region [ETC and UNWTO, 2018; ENIT, 2017] tend to prefer art cities, fashion and design, destinations offering wellness services and locations that offer activities and facilities for families. Family is indeed a core value for people of the Gulf region and travelling is an opportunity to spend some time with their loved ones.

Travellers from the Gulf region want to experience authentic and exclusive stays while also enjoying privacy, security and high-level services. The availability of many top-notch accommodation facilities (hotels and/or villas) is crucial when it comes to actually picking a destination. The possibility of going shopping for renowned brands and savouring delicious food is greatly appreciated too. Aside from the capital – the art city par excellence – Lazio can boast several strategic and incomparable assets, such as:

• a network of less known destinations, all of which are remarkable, from a cultural standpoint;
• a natural vocation for wellness tourism, outdoor sports and open-air activities;
• a high-end commercial offer featuring the most iconic ‘Made in Italy’ brands;
• luxury accommodation facilities, villas and prestigious residences;
• plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants;
• international events that can draw the attention of a public with great purchasing power (Alta Moda fashion week, the Italian Open tennis tournament, Ryder Cup, Piazza di Siena horse show, E-Prix…)