The work provides evidence of the weight of tourism in Italy and analyses trends in tourist flows in the last two decades. It also studies the main characteristics of tourists travelling to Italy, accommodation capacity and the natural, artistic and cultural amenities that define our country's comparative advantage in this sector. Finally, the current governance structure of the tourism sector and the policy challenges to be tackled in the near future are discussed.
After nearly a decade of stagnation, from 2010 international tourism revenues started to grow again at a rapid rate, especially as a result of non-European travellers coming to Italy for cultural vacations. The country's accommodation capacity has expanded considerably. However, some of the tourism potential is still underexploited, especially in Southern Italy. The concentration of tourist flows has increased, leading to a higher risk of congestion in the most popular locations.