Luxury tourism: potential and trends

Luxury tourism represents a fast-growing segment in the Travel & Tourism industry and is able to bring enormous benefits to a country’s economy.

Currently in Europe, the world’s leading tourist destination, this sector accounts for 2% of the total but is capable of generating 22% of total tourism expenditure with a current value of around 130-170 billion Euros. A study by Eccia showed how this booming sector has the potential to grow from 170 to 520 billion in the Old Continent from now to 2030-2035, also thanks to the rise of the Asian middle class, especially in countries such as China, Hong Kong, India, and Malaysia.

The 24th Italian Tourism Report estimates that luxury tourism will increase significantly in Italy, however, it emphasises the need to develop better methods to intercept ‘high-spending’ tourists and fully exploit the potential of this segment. The Country in fact, despite being confirmed as the most popular destination for luxury tourists, is only in third place for the number of visits, preceded by France and Great Britain. In order to achieve more sustained growth in this sector, according to Eccia, there is a need to invest in sustainable and naturalistic tourism, mobility-related infrastructures, facilitate visas, and promote a hospitality training system focused on the high-end

Which are the trends in this market segment? High-spending travellers are looking for authenticity and a connection with the destination territory, paying attention to slow and sustainability-conscious tourism, away from the most popular destinations. This has also been confirmed by Virtuoso and Elite Traveler, according to which the environmental and social factor is critical in the choice of destination for most of the high-end tourists interviewed, in addition to the search for unique and personalised experiences.

At Twissen we observed that luxury tourism is a crucial sector for economic development and has enormous potential. To fully exploit it, it is necessary to consider sustainability and service quality as strategic elements, invest in training and human capital, and focus on creating valuable experiences.

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