Italy Today

How Italy is planning to attract Australian tourists

Alternative tours to help discovering Italian hidden corners

How Italy is planning to attract Australian tourists

Claudia Astarita

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Last year, Australian tourists travelling abroad were over nine million , up 3.9 % over the previous year, and about a million and a half of them visited Europe. Italy was their second most favourite European destination, with 180850 visitors, and in our country their average daily expenditure was 123 Euro per day. Moreover , according to the National Tourism Observatory Unioncamere - Isnart , their total spending in our country was 945 million euro per year, 2.9 % of the total. Such data demonstrate how attracting more visitors from Australia can represent a very profitable business.

A number of companies from Down Under are paving the way, by proposing tailor-made tours to Australian travellers who have already admired Rome, Venice, Florence and the other main Italian attraction, and therefore crave for visiting places that are off the beaten path.

An example is Italian Delights Tours: the brainchild of Jim and Lynette Romagnesi, both born in Australia with  Italian heritage, focuses on Northern Italy and the Lakes. As explained by the Australian magazine Italianicious, the new 12-day tour they offer runs twice yearly (from late April to May and September to October) and visits the regions of Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy.

Its highlights are re the stunning landscapes of Lake Garda and dining in a medieval castle; a visit to the Valpolicella wine region and Pavarotti's country home, which is now a museum. Australian tourists will learn about places like Mantua and Sabbioneta, which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites, and traditions like the art of producing Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and balsamic vinegar of Modena.

A similar experience is created by An Italian Affair, which brings Australian tourists to the most picturesque areas of Umbria. Founder of the company, Antonella Nichinonni was born and raised in Casigliano di Strettura, a small hamlet on a hill top between Terni and Spoleto. Her goal is to "create hosted educational, cultural and gastronomic tours offering unique and special travel experiences, the sort that money cannot buy and that only genuine passionate and local people can deliver". She personally hosts all her tours, which include all the best, small scale and most authentic villages of Umbria.

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