In Italy the phenomenon of "going on holiday" started with the economic boom in the 1960s and gained considerable social relevance in the 1980s. This period saw drastic changes in people's holiday habits. Going on holiday at least once a year became an important factor in the lifestyle of Italians. In 1985, 46% of the Italian population already followed this trend and in Veneto the share was even higher, at 50.7%. In the years that followed the growth in tourism began to slow down (Note 1)
. In 2007 Veneto was in sixth place out of all the Italian regions for the share of residents who took a medium-to-long holiday. The situation in Veneto is very similar to the other northern regions, with approximately 58 holiday-makers every 100 residents. This value is 7% above the national average. The other 42% of the Veneto population do not take holidays (not even for four days) mainly for financial reasons, or for family reasons. The other reasons, in order of importance, are the following: travelling has never been a habit, work or study, health-related reasons, age, already resident in a holiday resort. (Figure 10.2.1)
Veneto residents prefer travelling within Italy, which accounted for 78.1% of holidays in 2007. Italy was the destination for 73.5% of business trips and for 69.8% of holidays lasting at least 4 nights. For short trips the percentage rises even higher (91%). Children with adults form the biggest group of holiday-makers; these make up more than 30% of the population in Veneto. The least inclined to travel are the over-65s (14.2%). The summer is the biggest holiday season as 55.1% of the population of Veneto take a holiday in this period.
When Veneto tourists go travelling in Italy they tend to stay longer than Italians from other regions: in 2007 their average stay was five days, which is one more day than their fellow Italians. This figure is partly due to the choice of hotel establishments, where the average stay of 3.5 nights compares to a national average of 3.3 nights, but mainly to the fact that non-hotel establishments are very popular and are used for longer-term holidays. The number of nights spent by Veneto tourists in campsites, rented accommodation, agrotourisms etc. is much higher than that spent in hotels, and the average length of stay is 8.5 days, compared to the 7.2 days spent by Italians on average.
Of all the holiday destinations in Italy, 44.7% of the tourists from Veneto in 2007 preferred their own region, followed by Trentino Alto Adige (14.4%), Emilia Romagna (8.8%), Friuli Venezia Giulia, Toscana, Lombardia, Marche, Lazio, etc.
Veneto tourists in the region mainly choose the beach resorts (in 2008 more than half the holiday-makers went to the seaside), or the mountains (20.6%), and they spend less time in Veneto's wonderful historic cities (18.1%) than other tourists do. This does not signify a lack of appreciation for the special atmosphere and the unique experience of visiting the famous historic cities of Veneto, but it is obvious that Veneto residents can reach these places very easily in a day trip and thus do not need to stay there overnight. When they spend their holidays in Veneto, local residents are more likely than other Italians to choose other forms of accommodation to hotels, just as is the case for their holidays in other places in Italy: in 2008, 52.3% of Veneto tourists stayed in non-hotel type accommodation, which accounted for 74.7% of bookings. The most popular forms of accommodation are rented rooms and campsites.
Estimates of traveller flows at national borders can give us an idea of the likelihood of Veneto residents to travel abroad, either for work or for personal reasons (Note 2)
. Not counting those who do not spend the night in accommodation establishment perhaps because they are staying with friends or family, or those who are simply on a day trip (Note 3)
, Veneto residents are more likely to travel abroad than Italians in general (around 45 travellers per 100 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 36). Once past the border however, they tend to spend less: around 636 euro per traveller on average compared to the Italian average of 769 euro. This can partly be explained by the length of the trip: an average of 8.1 days compared to the Italian average of 8.9 days. In the last five years the average length of stays abroad has decreased for both Veneto residents and Italians in general, and the gap between the two is getting narrower. Length of trip aside, however, in 2008 the average daily spending of Veneto residents was slightly lower than the Italian average (78 euro compared to 86 euro). (Figure 10.2.2)
and (Figure 10.2.3)
There is one further interesting statistic on the origins of tourists to the three destinations mentioned above (Veneto, Italy and abroad). As we can see from the graph, in the last five years the Veneto population's tendency to travel has grown much more quickly than that of Italians overall: this is true both for trips within Veneto and for holidays in Italy, and even more so for trips abroad. For this latter, the trend appears to be more up-and-down than the other two. (Figure 10.2.4)