Focus Discover Italy 2024

Discover Italy, eighth edition

Discover Italy, the event where Italian hotels and operators meet the best international buyers, will kick off in just a few days. Following the success of the previous edition, this year confirms the format of the two-day event. The workshop, exclusively dedicated to incoming tourism, employs an innovative appointment system that, thanks to a sophisticated algorithm, calculates the perfect match between supply and demand. This tool optimises both the quality of meetings and the time needed for creating an agenda, easing the work for all participants.

The sponsors

The event will take place on 18 and 19 April at the former Convento dell’Annunziata convent in Sestri Levante. An event that will once again include exceptional institutional partners such as ENIT, while the number of Ligurian municipalities sponsoring the event rises to eleven: Chiavari, Lavagna, Levanto, Moneglia, Santa Margherita, Sestri Levante, Portofino, and newcomers Genoa, Rapallo, Zoagli and the Valli del Parco dell’Aveto Consortium. They will present their tourism offer at the Discover Italy opening press conference on 18 April at 10:30 am directly on the seafront, in the unmistakable Baia del Silenzio.

Italy presents itself to buyers

Italy will be represented from North to South, with numerous institutional representatives alongside individual operators from all over the country. ENIT and Blastness have reconfirmed their support for Discover Italy this year. The National Tourism Agency, the partner airline ITA Airways and Italian regional stakeholders attending the workshop will lead a presentation for international buyers on the evening of 17 April at the Grand Hotel dei Castelli in Sestri Levante. This will provide an additional networking opportunity, in addition to the chance to learn about strategies and objectives for the tourism sector in the coming months. Toscana Promozione Turistica will also be focusing on the destination and the region’s food and wine offer with a themed lunch for buyers during the first day of the workshop.

Focus on the US market

Over 90 buyers from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Estonia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain, United States (representing an enormous 30% of the entire contingent), Sweden & Switzerland will take part in pre- and post-tours spanning the Brescia, Riviera Apuana, Gulf of Tigullio, Genoa, Cinque Terre, Portofino and the Regional Natural Park of Aveto areas. “A truly extraordinary edition where attention to the quality and origin of the buyers is pushed to the highest level,” says Paolo Bertagni, president of Guida Viaggi and organiser of the event. “Once again, the foreign operators present are the result of an evaluation, selection and screening process that allows only one out of five buyers to participate. This year, thanks to the commitment of the Liguria Region, the workshop will also host a delegation of 30 top American buyers.” In addition to the eleven municipalities, other partners of the event include Mediaterraneo Servizi, Liguria Together, Sestri Levante In and Consorzio Portofino Coast. Media partners include Guida Viaggi, About Hotel, Il Piccolo, Corriere, La Voce di Genova – MoreNews, Corriere Turismo and Agenda Viaggi. The ninth edition is already scheduled for 27 and 28 March, 2025.

Organised by the editorial team


Sestri Levante looks east

Sestri Levante has had a very successful 2023, which reinforced “a decisive recovery trend in foreign tourism in our area,” says Giuseppe Ianni, Councillor for tourism, events and commerce at the Municipality of Sestri Levante. “After the difficult Covid years where Italian tourism was the focus of our tourism economy, the return of large foreign flows has confirmed how attractive our city and the entire area are for the foreign market.” 2024 will be a year of “important confirmations, high-quality facilities, ideas for experience-based, food and wine, sports and cultural tourism, with a rich calendar of events.” Discussions with local operators and signs being recorded point to “an excellent new year: expectations are high because all our reference markets show some very interesting activity.” Attention is being paid to the American market, which is showing “significant signs of growth.” Switzerland, Northern Europe, France and the United States are the “core” of foreign overnight stays in the area, “with an interesting mix of new visitors.”

Where is the focus?

As Ianni states, “Our focus is now turning eastwards, to Japanese and Chinese markets that are already familiar with our country and may now be ready to explore new destinations, including the Gulf of Tigullio.” Efforts are also being made in the MICE sector, “leveraging spaces at the former convent of the Annunziata, where Discover Italy is held, and a network of quality accommodation facilities. Two elements that will integrate even more closely.”

by Stefania Vicini


Lavagna focuses on hiking

The municipality of Lavagna aims to enhance hiking trails. “Letting visitors experience the beauty of our area first-hand is certainly the best promotion possible, so results are guaranteed as confirmed on several occasions by the president of the Lavagna hoteliers association, Tiziano Sada,” states Elisa Covacci, tourism councillor for the municipality of Lavagna, one of the participants of Discover Italy. This path has been undertaken in response to “strong interest from tourists, especially foreigners, in exploring our hills with their slate paths, terraces, dry stone walls, olive groves, all with views over the gulf,” she comments. The approximately 4 km of beaches in the Ligurian resort make beach activities the main form of tourism, but “there is increasing interest in hiking,” emphasises the councillor. In fact, culture, food and wine and active tourism are confirmed as “the dominant elements of our offer,” confirms Covacci. Meanwhile, prospects for 2024 and signals from the Italian and foreign markets for this season are good. Target markets include France, Germany and Belgium.

by Stefania Vicini


Rapallo debuts at Discover

A debut at Discover Italy for the Municipality of Rapallo. “We have the honour of participating at one of the most important tourism events,” says Elisabetta Lai, tourism councillor. “It will certainly be an opportunity to enhance incoming tourism and shine a light on our city.” The municipality will participate as a sponsor at the event and will bring “the distinctive features of the city through its logo and tourist video,” explains the councillor. “We are also thrilled to have been chosen as a stop for international buyers and we will work to make this occasion unique.” According to Lai, there are several reasons why participating at the event is important. “To create new connections and collaborations with other participants and to increase the visibility of Rapallo, one of the pearls of Tigullio. We will stand out for our passion and dedication to our city, and for our attention to the needs of the tourism market.”

Tourist flows

The area has always been a host to both Italian and foreign tourists, “who are discovering it for the first time, but also to loyal visitors who return to us every year,” emphasises the councillor. “At the moment, it is not easy to make predictions for the upcoming summer season, as tourism flows, both Italian and foreign, are greatly influenced by socio-economic conditions. We expect that the foreign component, especially the higher end, will follow last year’s positive trend and may even grow.”

by Nicoletta Somma

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