(Yicai Global) March 15 -- As Chinese overseas group tours to Italy and other European countries resume today, after being paused during the pandemic, the director-in-charge of Italian travel agency Scenic has said he is keen to work with Chinese tour operators to customize its itineraries and programs for Chinese visitors.
The agency will adjust its business according to tourists’ demand, Alessandro Ciampa said. Compared with the pre-pandemic era, visitors now want to get more deeply connected with their destinations, therefore, Scenic will offer more enriched local experiences.
This year should ‘beat expectations’ after last year's strong recovery, Ciampa said. Shortage of staff is currently the biggest challenge, he added. This is a common difficulty for the hotel, catering, transportation and other travel-related sectors in the country. In the first half last year, Italy’s tourism industry lacked 88,000 employees.
Italy is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for Chinese travelers, and in 2019 the Mediterranean country welcomed 5.3 million Chinese tourists, according to data from the Italian National Institute of Statistics. This figure plunged to 608,000 in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The number of Chinese tourists headed for Italy should soon return to or even exceed pre-pandemic levels now that direct flights between the two countries have been restored and Italy has lifted its Covid-19 restrictions, Jia Guide, China’s ambassador to Italy, said earlier.
Along with Italy, another 10 European countries, including France and Spain, have been included in China’s second batch of destinations for outbound tour groups. The first batch was in February. Large numbers of Chinese visitors should start to arrive in Europe from the middle of April and numbers should peak during the summer, according to the European Travel Commission.
Editors: Zhang Yushuo, Kim Taylor