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PRESS RELEASE - Tourism in Bologna in 2022: numbers, economic impact and visitor preferences

BOLOGNA, 23/03/2023 - After the forced slowdown of the two-year period 2020-2021, marked by the effects of the pandemic, tourism in Bologna is back on the rise in 2022.

In 2022 arrivals totalled 1,447,619 and overnight stays 3,074,763, with numbers in line, though not yet equal, with respect to 2019. A similar situation was recorded in the Metropolitan City as a whole, where arrivals totalled 2,068,848 and overnight stays 4,591,313. On the other hand, it should be noted that if we exclude from the analysis the first three months of the year, still marked by Covid, the number of overnight stays is even higher (+3%) both in the Metropolitan City and at the metropolitan level (+2) compared to the same period in 2019. In terms of origins, US and Spanish arrivals were particularly noteworthy, increasing by 9 and 12 percentage points respectively compared to 2019. There were also many arrivals from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

This positive trend is confirmed by the hotel occupancy rate, which rose from 67.6% in 2019 to 68.4% in 2022. The upward slope is consolidated in the period between April and December, where the 2022 results hit 75.9% compared to 69.3% in 2019.

Over the last decade, tourism in Bologna has become a real economic driver, creating spin-offs in terms of employment, new entrepreneurship and wealth. According to a recent study, in the ranking of the top 500 Italian municipalities for tourism wealth creation analysed over the first eight months of 2022, the Municipality of Bologna ranks 11th, with tourism wealth of €917,851,631.00.

Tourists who chose Bologna as their travel destination in 2022 visited the city mainly as couples, staying an average of three days and organising their trip in advance. They also showed a growing interest in the cultural initiatives and points of historical interest in the city. 56% of the enquiries handled by the Infopoint in Piazza Maggiore in 2022 referred to monuments, cultural events and shows, exhibitions and museums, while the remainder was divided between ticketing, merchandise and general information.

The five most booked tourist experiences in 2022 - and also in the first quarter of 2023 - include cultural proposals: from the Asinelli Tower to the Clock Tower with the Collezioni Comunali d'Arte, from Lucio Dalla's house to other historical buildings and classic guided tours.

The articles written by journalists visiting the destination also reflect this trend. In 2022, out of 123 issues edited by the Bologna Welcome press office, 64% were dedicated to culture, 20% to motors and the outdoors, and 16% to food and wine.

This variety of interests has been responded to by an equally rich and diversified tourist offer: Bologna Welcome's catalogue promotes a total of no less than 138 experiences, to which a series of experiences linked to specific temporary initiatives are added.

All of these proposals can be booked both online and offline through various touchpoints: from the tourist offices in Piazza Maggiore and at the airport to temporary points at museums, from the website to social channels and live chat.

The presence of these technological infrastructures, as well as a state-of-the-art CRM system, allows the destination to support the tourist at all stages of the journey, particularly facilitating those who wish to organise their itinerary in advance. Indeed, 40% of tourists in 2022 booked experiences at least 24 hours in advance of their visit using online touch points. This mode of purchase has experienced a significant increase over the last three years, so much so that 4 out of 5 purchases are made online. Bookings themselves have also risen by 41% compared to 2019.

"Bologna as a city has been able to make organisation and its rich cultural tourism offer its defining feature. Both factors have contributed to increasing tourist flows and making the city a reference point for the leisure segment as well." - comments Franco Baraldi, President of Bologna Welcome - "The data collected over the past year show that tourists have also understood the cultural value of the city, and we will continue to work in this direction to make it even more welcoming and attractive."



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