The tourist board, known as ENIT, is taking a “fundamental step” towards a new marketing strategy, with WTM a key component.
Through its Premier Partnership status, Italy aims to “reposition and widen the Italian tourist offer” beyond the traditional tourist destinations. ENIT will also shine a spotlight on its themed years, with Italian villages being the focus for 2017 and food and wine in 2018.
Italy will also use WTM to highlight its cultural attractions and the fact it has more UNESCO World Heritage sites - 53 - than any other country. According to FutureBrand’s Country Brand Index, it is ranked top for tourism and culture – and it is the most photographed country on Instagram, with 64 million tags and counting.
ENIT will have two main stands at WTM (EU2000, EU2070) and will share its exhibition space with around 230 Italian travel trade partners, including regional tourism bodies, hotels, travel agencies, resorts and operators.
Dario Franceschini, Italy’s Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, said the special themed years mean regional tourist boards and cities can work together with the trade to create itineraries which enable overseas visitors to experience Italian lifestyles.
“In the tourism sector, where competition is so fierce, it is fundamental for Italy to diversify its attractions and spread tourist flows over the entire national territory,” he said.
“Tourism, this extraordinary engine of economic development, is a medium of peaceful encounters between cultures and a fundamental antidote to the fear of the different.”
WTM London senior director Simon Press said: “Italy has long been a key exhibitor at WTM London and we’re delighted that this Premier Partnership will help the country to take its tourism marketing to the next level.
“Being WTM London’s Premier Partner means Italy has the perfect platform to promote the extensive range of Italian holidays to buyers and media from across the globe.”