“It is a deal that fits perfectly in the spirit of the new ENIT strategic plan. We do not manage the crisis, we govern the growth of tourism, aiming to increase spending, diversifying at the same time the offer. The Chinese market can be a good test bench,” said Dario Franceschini, Minister of Mibact (The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism), commenting on a recently-signed MOU.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ENIT (the Italian State Tourism Agency) and Alibaba Group has been signed. Alibaba is an online marketplace with 443 million active users and a turnover of 485 billion dollars.
The agreement foresees a promotion of the Italian destination with Alitrip, a platform specializing in trips and vacations with over 50 million active users and about 100,000 merchant and business operators that offer airline tickets, hotel reservations services, tourist guides, and vacation packages for a total of 2 million products.
The figures on the value of the agreement speak for themselves: the Chinese market presently boasts over 130 million travelers abroad (+124% compared to just 5 years ago). China itself whose spending value amounts to 264 billion dollars and a growth estimate for 2017 of +16%, positions itself as top spenders in international tourism.
The Italian destination for Chinese travelers ranks at the fourth position, with the number of arrivals confirmed to be 3.3 million, and it is ranked eighth for overnight stays at their favorite regions: Lazio, Veneto, Tuscany, Lombardy, and Emilia Romagna.
The Director of the ENIT Board of Directors, Fabio Lazzerini, emphasized the importance of the deal that demonstrates that ENIT, having reached an agreement for the presidium of the first tourism market in the world in terms of big spender is that it can generate huge business opportunities and position itself as one of the most dynamic promotion agencies in Europe.
Lazzerini also assured that the ENIT-Alibaba operation was done at no cost. However, each travel agent must finalize a deal with Alibaba who will charge very low commissions. Then, each Italian operator is required to select a “trade partner” correspondent in China to make it easy to converse with the local market. The agreement also foresees that Italy will benefit from an exhibition site named “Italian National Pavilion” in China. This will host periodically a showcase of travel packages based on themes that the Italian operators will have to offer from time to time updated to the theme proposed