Tourism in Italy 2021-2022

With its alluring natural environment, rich cultural heritage, abundance of historical landmarks and World Heritage Sites, and famous artisanal food and wine, it is no wonder that nearly 95 million international travelers chose Italy as their vacation destination in 2019. Tourism generated 13.1% of the Italian gross domestic product in 2019, with a 12.65%  five-year average yearly GNP. Italy saw a relatively steady increase in the number of tourists over the past 20 years through 2019, with the 5-year average number of yearly tourists being 88 million. Over 1.5 million jobs are generated from the travel and tourism industry and Italy is one of the top 5 countries in the world for economic turnout from tourism.

At the time when the global Covid-19 pandemic struck in the spring of 2020, Italy had approximately 34,000 hotel and tourist lodging properties.The flourishing tourism and hospitality industry augmented an otherwise subdued real estate market. The majority of lodging consisted of:

  • cost-effective hotel properties
  • bed and breakfasts
  • farm holiday properties (agriturismo)
  • holiday homes
  • 4 and 5-star hotels

The 35% of lodging are 4 and 5-star hotels. Tourist lodging in Italy is distinctive in its size, facility standards, and ownership. A typical hotel in Italy is of moderate size and age and many of which are family owned and managed. A 2019 UniCredit survey reported that the average size of an Italian hotel consists of 30 guestrooms and 80% are owned by a sole independent proprietor or family. The quality of these accommodation facilities tend to be below average. In cities such as Rome and Milan, many accommodations have been restored and improved upon. However, this is not the case for most other areas. These trends in both the ownership characteristics and quality standards are now seeing a change. In 2019, investments in the hospitality real estate market exceeded 2.5 billion euros, 70% of which came from foreign investors.   

Investing in Italy in 2021-2022

Residency by investment Italy: the golden visa

It is called golden visa or residency by investment and the entry investment has recently been changed from 500,000 euros to 250,000 euros. So you just have to invest in joint stock companies (500,000 euros) and startups (250,000 euros). You are not obliged to reside physically in Italy for the entire duration of the visa.

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Cultural tourism in Italy

The great Italian art cities have caught the attention of both foreign and Italian investors. In the past 5 years, Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice have attracted the most investors. In 2018, the capital city of Rome saw an increase in investor interest with a 40% share of global investments, with Milan having a 17% share. The latest commercial real estate market analysis identifies yet another trend developing: foreign investors have shown interest in constructing new properties dedicated to hospitality, as well as buying existing ones. A 2020 survey shows that several world-renowned hotel chains have started entering the Italian market by buying out independent proprietors. Cultural tourism in Italy is also someway sustainable as the old town centers prefer renovations rather than new buildings due to the main restrictions.

So where does that leave us now in 2021-2022 as Italy begins to recover from the decline in tourism caused by the Covid-19 pandemic? Is buying a commercial property for the purpose of establishing a business in the tourism and hospitality sector still a profitable investment? Indications are that Italy is bound to come back and tourism will very probably be the means by which Italy manages to overcome the economic emergency created by COVID-19. The 2021 summer tourist season is already showing signs of recovery and it is forecasted that over 33 million tourists will visit Italy in the summer of 2021, a 20% increase over 2020.

We believe that investing in commercial real estate in Italy is still a sound investment. Data collected by IT Auction, using its own online real estate auction portal Real Estate Discount as a vector, shows that there are plenty of  investment opportunities available. In Italy in the past year, it handled approximately a hundred properties in the hospitality category for an average appraisal value of almost 3 million euros. The location and types of properties are showing an interesting trend. The majority, approximately 17% of the total, are hotels and tourist resorts located in Sicily; and, in 2019 alone, they recorded an average award value of about 700,000 euros.




Our real estate agents are conversant with the hospitality sector of the Italian real estate market. Our experts and extensive network of contacts are constantly researching and monitoring the Italian commercial real estate market and regularly provide our clients with an up-to-date portfolio of Italian hotels, bed and breakfasts, holiday houses, and other similar available properties. Once you have indicated your preferred properties, our lawyers, advisors, fiscal experts, and consultants work together by your side offering trustworthy advice and assistance and a streamlined process in facilitating your real estate investment.


What we can do for you:

  • provide prospective foreign investors with an extensive and diversified portfolio of properties and businesses currently on the market, including full data concerning the businesses’ standing, such as last Balance Sheets;
  • provide studies on future potential development, numbers and increasing potential possibilities of the businesses of interest;
  • provide investors with alternative listings of properties in need of renovation but with approved licenses;
  • provide wide-ranging start-up services and assistance to obtain the necessary tools to run and develop a business in Italy (website creation and development, creating booking and Airbnb accounts);
  • provide reliable and comprehensive fiscal and legal assistance throughout the purchase, business incorporation and establishment phases, such as assisting with the Italian invoicing and bookkeeping rules and helping clients prepare for bank financing and mortgage applications.