Chinese tourism in Italy
Italian National Tourism Department Promotes Chinese Tourism in Italy on Digital Platforms
In 2018 more than 5 million Chinese tourists went to Italy and it’s estimated that this number will exceed 6 million in 2019. According to the Italian newspaper, IL SOLE 24 ORE’s report on July 30th, each Chinese tourist in Italy spent 1167 euro on tax-free products on average. How can Italian tourist destinations attract Chinese tourists? Italian National Tourism Department has a Weibo account which has attracted 310,836 followers with 2,191 posts and an average posting frequency of 3 posts per week. To promote Chinese tourism in Italy, it has been dedicated to sharing Italy-related information, covering from views, food, history, events, local customs and so on.
The top two hottest posts of Italian National Tourism Department are polls for your favorite Italian food in summer and the place in Italy you want to have a road trip at the most. As a result, gelato and Tuscany won the most votes respectively. Their voting posts with interactive dialogues and hashtags successfully promoted followers engagement.
To further enhance users engagement and gain more followers, Italian Tourism Department can use lucky draw with incentives. For example, in mid-autumn festival, Atout France encouraged followers to repost, comment and @ their friends with French wine as incentive. Moreover, compared to the Weibo official accounts of other countries Tourism Departments who usually have 1-3 posts every day, Italian Tourism Department has relatively small number of posts and low posting frequency.
Baidu analysis of Chinese Tourism in Italy through Chinese perception of Italian cities
Florence takes first place of the search results of the Italian cities we focused on, and 10% of tourist spending in Florence is from Chinese tourists. Being perceived as the cradle of the Renaissance and home of the greatest artistic treasures in the world, Florence is a popular travel destination for Chinese people, where they enjoy visiting the museums and churches especially Pizza del Duomo. Besides the tourism-related content, its football club, ACF Fiorentina, also contributes to the high search volume. They also search about Florence Village, the premium outlets in 6 major cities of China.
When people search Florence on Baidu, there are quite a lot relative keywords about other popular travel destinations in Italy such as Rome and Milan since they are the top 3 most well-known Italian cities, as well as the tourist attractions in Florence.
Bologna is a lesser-known Italian city for Chinese people with limited search results. People mostly search for information about universities in Bologna including the courses, application and rankings. The football club is also highly-ranked in the search results. Bologna is recognized as a niche tourist destination for Chinese and they are interested in its history since it is the oldest city in Italy.
The relative keywords are usually related to its football club such as Sinisa Mihajlovic, the former coach of Bologna Football Club, and the University of Bologna.
Naples is another well-known Italian city with relatively high search volume. It is known as the birthplace of pizza and the most important city in the south of Italy. Chinese tourist enjoy visiting the old castles by the sea, volcanos and the food, while they are also worried about the security of the city. There are a lot of search results about the four Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante and the TV series based on these novels. Likewise, Chinese people are also interested in its football club, SSC Napoli.
The top 3 relative keywords are Neapolitan novels, Carlo Ancelotti who is the coach of Naples football club and Reine de Naples, the Breguet watch created for the Queen of Naples.
Chinese people have relatively high awareness of Sicilia and their knowledge about this city is mostly from movies, such as Malena (西西里的美丽传说) which is named as ‘The Beautiful Legend in Sicilia’ in China and is famous among Chinese audiences with good reviews. Attracted by its beautiful views, mixed culture, Mediterranean weather and fascinating stories, a lot of Chinese tourists choose it as their travel destination such as couples spending their honeymoons. It is also known as a wine-producing area.
Foreign movies are quite popular among the Chinese audience, and movies have even been cited as a reason Chinese tourists choose certain travel destinations. It can be shown in the relative keywords, including Malena, the Godfather and the leading actress of Malena, Monica Bellucci, that the popularity of Sicilia is highly connected to movies.
Milan is the hot Italian city with the highest daily search volume. It is perceived as one of the world’s fashion capitals by Chinese people and the news about Milan fashion week every year strengthened this perception. In Milan, Chinese tourist spending makes up 36% of all tourist spending. In addition to its reputation amongst Chinese for fashion, it is also renowned by other aspects such as the commercial center, architecture, universities and football. The AC Milan football club takes up most of the top Baidu results. For most Chinese tourists, they are interested in its shopping centers, art museums and churches.
According to the relative keywords in Baidu index, Milan not only has high correlation with its football club, but also other popular travel destinations in the north of Italy including Venice and Florence. Due to their geography locations, Chinese tourists usually visit them together and they search for the transportation information between these cities beforehand.
What you should know about Chinese tourism in Italy
As Italy maintains its reputation of a world-class tourist destination in China, Chinese tourism in Italy is booming. In the meantime, Chinese tourism as a whole is becoming increasingly sophisticated with more focus on customized travel and niche destinations, which created more opportunities for lesser-known Italian cities. By understanding Chinese perceptions of Italian cities, they can reach to Chinese tourists and promote Italian tourism in a more effective way especially through digital marketing. Platforms such as Weibo, Red and WeChat are crucial to raise Chinese tourists awareness of Italian tourism.