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According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the number of Australians visiting Italy in 2023 increased by 19% compared to 2019, with 311,760 Australians visiting the country last year. The figures mark a record number of Australian visitors to Italy in a single year since records began.

“We know Australians have a strong connection with Italy which has only blossomed since travel patterns have normalised. It is fantastic to see the numbers back this up as we look towards another strong year ahead,” said Emanuele Attanasio, Country Manager, Italian National Tourist Board Australia & New Zealand.

While visitation for the first half of 2023 was, for the first time, comparable to 2019 pre-pandemic figures, the numbers swelled to unprecedented levels from July. The jump in overall figures can be largely attributed to Italy’s bumper summer season in 2023, but the monthly breakdown shows a growing uptick in Aussies seeking end-of-summer and shoulder season travel in the destination. September 2023 saw strong monthly YOY growth – 18% higher than September 2019 – while visitor growth for the Autumn months of October and November 2023 rose to 21% and 22%, respectively, compared to October and November 2019.

Attanasio added: “The true numbers are likely much higher given that ABS data only considers travellers who spent most of their time in Italy when travelling overseas. But we know many Australians choose to spend a portion of their time in the country as part of a bigger European getaway.”

Attanasio notes that compared to their European and American counterparts, Australian travellers are becoming more aware of the appeal of travelling during the off and shoulder seasons:

“Australians are more open to travelling to Italy outside the key summer months. They know the weather is milder, but not at the cost of sunshine and exciting seasonal events with Piedmont’s White Truffle Festival and the Feast of Sant Agata in Catania starting to attract more Australian visitors. Many of Italy’s popular destinations don’t shut down when the temperatures drop; people are discovering they have multi-dimensional offerings and year-round appeal.”

While they are traditionally the quietest months for Australians, figures for November and December 2023 show Australians are also beginning to consider winter as an alternative time to travel:

“Winter has so much to offer. The northern regions offer world-class winter sports, with the Dolomites getting bountiful snowfalls from November, for example. And if you’re still chasing the sun, many parts of the south can still offer a touch of summer. Sicily in February is gorgeous and still warm enough to eat al fresco,” he added.

Italy’s iconic cities, coastal resorts, and wine regions are world-renowned for good reasons, however, INTB is encouraging Australians to consider including Italy’s lesser-known destinations in their 2024 itineraries which are equally filled with high-quality travel experiences:

“From stunning small towns like Praiano on the Amalfi Coast and the lakeside town Baveno in Piedmont to the underrated wine regions of Umbria and Le Marche, there might be more to explore in Italy than you first thought,” concluded Attanasio.