Financial meltdown, economic slump, subprime crisis? All of these words seem to belong to the past for the tourism industry in Rome.
The number of tourists visiting Italy’s capital in August grew by 11,5%, Vicemayor Mauro Cutrufo said on October 6, citing figures from a study of the Ente Bilaterale del Turismo del Lazio – EBTL – Tourism Board of Employers and Employees of the region of Rome.
June and July also posted two-digit growth figures: 10,6% and 11,2% respectively. Actually, in the first eight months of the year, according to the EBTL’s report, vacationers rose by an overall 9% compared with the same period of 2009. And the forecasts are also optimistic, the Vicemayor told the press: in the last four months of 2010 the expectation is for a 10% increase, with American tourists’ bookings up 12% in September and October.
“This means that the average 2010 volumes will be the same as the end-of-2007 peaks,” Cutrufo said. But this is not enough for the ambitious city government that wants to bring the Formula 1 race in Rome by 2013 and is making a serious bid to host the Olympic Games in 2020.
In the meanwhile, it is trying to increase the number of tourists by tapping emerging markets such as Brasil, China and India. A very hard task since there is only one direct flight to each of these countries from Rome’s intercontinental airport Fiumicino-Leonardo Da Vinci.
According to the “National Tourism Plan” crafted by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of Italy’s travel business association Federturismo-Confindustria, a more promising and long-sighted strategy is the realization of the so-called Second District. The creation of sights and attractions in the southern part of the city and along the coast of Rome that have nothing to do with arts, culture and religion, the leaders of tourism in Rome.
Recreation and green parks, new golf clubs, expanded congress and fair events, and improved yachting and sailing facilities should boost alternative tourism: travelers who are not particularly interested in ancient monuments and churches, and those who have already been to Rome and would only make another visit to experience something completely new.
The idea that Rome is not only composed of the Vatican and the Colosseum also inspires BuzzInRome.com, the only travel blog written in English by locals but conceived for international tourists, with all the latest info and updated news to enjoy the city at the fullest.
The website aims to take Rome’s guide books to a different level, providing timely information for instance about the recent opening of a new museum or restaurant, the extension of an interesting exhibition for you and your kids, the details of your favourite singer’s upcoming concert. Conveying the atmosphere of Rome’s life, the most fashionable trends and recent developments, it will help tourists enjoy the Roman lifestyle, “la dolce vita”, even if they are just staying for a few days.