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International events on the rise in Italy with 8.1 per cent increase in 2018

Italy has seen a jump in the number of international events, which have a significant proportion of overseas participants, increase from 7.9 per cent in 2017 to 8.1 per cent in 2018.

Most conferences and events (59.5 per cent) are local in dimension – with participants (excluding speakers) mainly coming from the same region as the host venue.

Overall, conferences and events held in Italy increased by 5.8 per cent in 2018, with participant figures slightly down (-2.4 per cent).

The decrease in growth figures was due to a fall in conferences promoted by international associations.

As a result, the recommendation was that Italy needs to undertake more promotional activities to combat competition from other destinations.

“Internationalisation, planning and quality are the three elements Italy needs to compete and get out of the impasse we have observed in the associations markets,” said Alessandra Albarelli, president of Federcongressi&eventi.

“Internationalisation means strengthening Convention Bureau Italia’s role in promoting the country as a MICE destination, in partnership with national tourist board ENIT; planning consists of implementing, together with all the institutions, particularly the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies and Tourism, long-term, targeted strategic activities for the sector.”

The latest results are from the Italian Survey of Conferences and Events, the research project by Italy’s meeting industry association Federcongressi&eventi.

Professor Roberto Nelli, who headed up the survey made some recommendations: “A first attempt at mapping events and conferences hosted in Italy shows that, given the current situation in which most events are hosted in places that can be described as part of Italy’s ‘Great Beauty’, it is possible to identify meeting industry development strategies that leverage the strengths of certain regions: for example, those with vast potential in their cultural and natural heritage that has not been fully exploited.”

Hotels and conference centres were the best performers. Conference hotels play host to most events: 80.6 per cent of the total, +6.9 per cent versus 2017. Conference centres also performed well, accounting for 3.2 per cent of total events (+3.9 per cent) but also registering the highest average number of events per venue: 156.3.