Italy We're Backing Agents in association with Travel Uni
Location: Famous as the boot-shaped peninsula of southern Europe, Italy extends into the central Med. It boasts the longest seaside coast in Europe. Its islands include popular destinations such as Sardinia, Sicily, Capri and Ischia.
Average length of stay: Short breaks are key but week-long beach, ski and lakeside holidays are also important.
Top destinations: City breaks to Rome, Venice and Florence are the top sellers, along with skiing in The Dolomites in winter. Off shore, Sardinia has great white sand beaches; and Sicily and the Anolian Islands also have strong appeal. Inland the lakes are the draw.
The food: Italian gastronomy is a big selling point – everyone loves pasta and pizza but gourmands also fi nd plenty to impress and lots of local specialities.
When to go: Italy is a year-round des- tination with different types of holidays dominating at different times of year.
Flying times: Around two and a half hours
Costs: Italy is in the Euro zone and has a reputation for being expensive. It can be pricey in peak season but also offers many good value options.
Learn More: www.ciaoitaliatraining.com
ABTOI: www.loveitaly.co.uk www.alitalia.com www.classic-collection.co.uk
InnTravel: www.slowholidays.co.uk www.interhome.co.uk www.internationalrail.com www.kirkerholidays.com www.sardinianplaces.co.uk
Travel Uni joined agents, key suppliers, the Italian Tourist Board and the Association of British Tour Organisers to Italy at a Selling Short Breaks & Holidays' Destination Dialogue held at the Hesperia Hotel in London. Follow the debate here and check out training and a sales incentive at: www.ciaoitaliatraining.com
• Many travellers repeat book, the diver- sity offers plenty of reasons to go back. • Gastronomy - the slow food movement was pioneered in Italy and speciality tours or cookery lessons are also top notch and good value. • Sell with the seasons - city breaks in spring and autumn or summer for a bargain. Coastal towns and the islands in summer and the Dolomites for ski. The Italian lakes - year-round except winter. • Wedding venues are good but use a specialist as the paperwork can be tricky. • Italy is perfect for shopaholics, wher- ever they go.
Italy In Context Every year 2.7 million visitors head to Italy from the UK. The UK is Italy’s fourth most important market and operators are optimistic about the destination’s prospects for 2011. ABTOI has 65 mem- bers and has made a strategic decision to become more active within the trade.
The Challenges • Italy is not the easiest country to sell because it offers such diversity and clients can get confused by the choice • Most mainland coastal towns tend to have rugged shores so push the scenic splendour and relaxed vibe, not sand. • Client perceptions are often that the
destination is expensive
• Client types vary for Italy but as a general rule they are a bit older, value culture, good food and great scenery • People who want to go to Italy, know they want to go there. It is a hard destination to switch sell people into
The Opportunities • Because of the diversity, clients turn to knowledgeable experts for help – if agents don’t feel equipped to answer their queries, many specialist operators are standing by to help. • Travellers to Italy tend to spend more than the average traveller which makes them a lucrative client to have.
Getting There Alitalia offers 12 fl ights a week from London City Airport and Heathrow fl ying to Rome and Milan with a wide range of onward connections. British Airways, easyJet and Ryan Air are among others fl ying to the mainland and to Sardinia. A BA charter now offers premium economy cabin to Sardinia. Rail transport from the UK to Italy
can be done in around eight and a half hours if a client starts with a very early Eurostar connection to Paris and then onward to Italy. International Rail represents Trenitalia,
the Italian rail network which offers high speed connections across large areas of Italy. Rail travel is inexpensive.
Top Tip: “British people are often intimidated by Italy from a price point of view. The perception is the reverse of the reality. Beyond the very high season, Italy is very good value.” Gary Boyer, Head of product development, Classic Collection Holidays
TRAVEL UNI NEWS IN BRIEF...
• Norway upgrades Norway has revamped its Norway Knowledge training site to update the content and simplify the modules. The exams have been revised and those who have already completed the training can now rework them to refresh their memory. The programme covers summer, winter and short-break holidays to the destination. www.norwayknowledge.co.uk
• Aquila makes it easy Greece remains a top seller for summer so now is the perfect time to check out the Aquila Resorts Expert programme which focuses on Crete and the four properties Aquila offers there. Catherine Curry, Travel Counsellors, recently completed it and said: “I enjoyed this training, and now feel I am in a much better position to sell Aquila Resorts.” www.aquilaresortsexpert.co.uk
about Italy @ www.ciaoitaliatraining.co.uk
Other short haul destination and product training available at:
aquilaresortsexpert.co.uk Costabravatraining.co.uk Greelandinformer.com Icelandinformer.co.uk Norwayknowledge.co.uk Teachmetunisia.co.uk Spainspecialistprogramme.co.uk Allaboutabta.co.uk
• May/June 2011 15
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