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Wedding tourism
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Wedding tourism in italy

More than 8 thousand events per year, with a turnover of over 440 million euros with 408 thousand arrivals and a total of over 1.3 million presences. A business that continues to grow

Wedding tourism_1

Couples from the whole world come in Italy to say their “Yes, I do” between the canals of Venice, in front of the Coliseum, under Brunelleschi’s Cupola or among the magical reflections of Lake Como. They are incurable romantics without budget problems, but with a distinct aesthetic taste. They choose Italy, before any other destination in world, to get married, to celebrate their anniversaries or to spend an unforgettable honeymoon.

Il bel paese là dove ‘l sì suona

Although Dante Alighieri referred to the linguistic identity of an Italy that had not yet appeared in his Divina Commedia, this famous verse seems to be perfect to describe the scenery of this very interesting niche tourism. There are more than 8 thousand events per year, with a turnover of over 440 million euros (over 60 million more than the last year), with 408 thousand arrivals and a total of over 1.3 million presences. These are the wedding tourism numbers in Italy according to a recent survey, made by Tourist Studies Centre of Florence on 2016 data. «In the last years in Italy, there has been a sustained growth of the phenomenon and the survey numbers confirm it» said the manager of TSC, Alessandro Tortelli. «In 2016 the weddings of foreign couples that have chosen an Italian place for their wedding location, have generated about 408 thousand arrivals and over 1.3 million presences».

The top five of the wedding regions in italy

A growth confirmed also by JFC data relating to 2017 which indicate a +2.3% as for turnover, while pointing out a decrease in foreign weddings number celebrated. According to TSC data, foreign couples’ “classical” wedding in Italy is celebrated in a Luxury Hotel, during spring and summer months (from May to September) and with a civil ceremony. An average of 50 guests, costing around 55 thousand euro.

The most popular destinations are Tuscany (31.9%), Lombardy (16%), Campania (14.7%), Veneto (7.9%) and Latium (7.1%). At the first place, among the locations chosen by foreigners for their weddings, there’s still Luxury hotel (32.4%), followed by villa (28.2%), restaurant (10.1%), agritourism (6.9%) and castle (8.5%). The most popular ceremony is civil (35%), followed by religious (32.6%) and symbolical (32.4%). The United Kingdom is the first market for the wedding tourism in Italy with the 27.6%, followed by USA (21.2%), Australia (8.9%), Germany (5.3%), Canada (4,5%) and Ireland (4.1%).

As previously outlined, the data provided at the end of the last year by another survey on the same subject are concordant for the most part. This research was commissioned by JFC about the 2017 and showed 7,147 foreign weddings in Italy. It shows a fall of –4.7% to the number of weddings celebrated, but at the same time a growth of +2,3% on turnover for a total of 385.830 million euros. 336 thousands arrivals, 1,210,437 presences and an average of 8.4 days of stay for married couples, while for guests is of 3.5 days. In JFC opinion, the breakdown of budget spent sees the definition of three categories: standard weddings, equal to 76.2%, with a turnover of 178 million euro, and super-luxury weddings, equal to 4.4%, but with a turnover of 70.590 million euro, which alone represents the 18% of total.

Even in this survey, the Anglo Saxon tourists are the first representatives of this tourism sector (USA and England account for 46% of the total), even if the countries with more growth prospects are Russia, Brazil, Netherlands and China. Among the favourite destinations there’re still Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast and Capri, Veneto, with Venice and Verona, Latium, substantially with Rome, Lake Como and Apulia. Even in this situation the JFC survey, updated the last year, notifies the most interesting trend increments, namely those of Apulia, Sicily, Campania and Sardinia. The destination choice is even more focused on unconventional places (20.4% villas and historical mansions, 18.6% farmhouses and agritourisms, 13.3% hotel and relais, 10.6% castles and fortresses, 8.0% buildings, 7,1% farms), which know how to offer food and wine excellences, wonderful locations, “dolce vita” and good climate. The celebration, according to JFC data, is mostly symbolic, for married couples (45.4%), but, for couples that are getting married, is more common the civil ceremony (31.4%) compared to the religious one (23.2%). 

For love and for business

The wedding tourism is a business based on emotions and feelings which become the real customers to satisfy at all costs. Foreign couples, that choose Italy to make their dream come true, expect that everything is perfect. For this reason, the professionalism and the organisation of service become the top priority. The operators involved in Italy, in this valuable niche of tourism, according to the latest indications of TSC, are over 52,900. They are 2,200 wedding planners, 8,300 locations, 2,080 catering services, 7,350 photographers and 1,200 film-makers. The list also includes make-up artists and hairdressers, floral designers, musicians, car rentals, celebrants and cake designers. The great potential of the sector is evident considering the interest demon demonstrated by suppliers, wedding planners and tour operators from all over the world towards trade fairs in Italy.

The 13th and 14th of November 2018, the 4th edition of Buy Wedding in Italy will be held in Bologna: two intensive and out of season days to bring together the main players of sector. «In fact, the delegations of buyer operators are 30. They are selected by a staff that includes the best specialists at international level, coming from USA, Canada, India, China, Brazil, Russia, Ireland, England, Germany, Scandinavian Countries, to mention just a few» the BWI organizer, Valerio Schönfeld, owner of “bussolaeventi”, said. There are involved 80 sellers that, after having passed the “examination” of an apposite commission, have been admitted to the manifestation in order to communicate with the super guests of the event. However, if until few years ago wedding was a stand-alone business sector, today it’s rightly and virtuously introduced in the tourist context, and this must represent its vocation and strength. «Destination wedding is a constantly growing phenomenon, so much to have become a genuine trend», as told by Bianca Trusiani, President of Technical Committee BWI and among the greatest Italian experts of the industry. «With the right elements and especially an appropriate preparation, both individual entrepreneur and territory can take a great advantage from them. It’s necessary to analyse all destination wedding players: entrepreneurship, institutions, trade associations. Moreover, it’s important to define, by a synergetic action, how to organise in the short supply in order to optimise supply and make a composed product. In this way, you have a realistic possibility to enter in the long chain of tourism and, through strategic actions, to get tourist flows that are dedicated not only to destination wedding, but also to romantic tour».

Borsa del Matrimonio in Italia (the Wedding Exchange in Italy)

In 2019, between the 1st and the 2nd of February, instead, the BMII, will take place at “La Nuvola” in Rome. This manifestation has already gathered the interest and the participation of buyers coming from all over the world, in particular from United States (15%), United Kingdom (13%), Brazil (10%) and Germany (8%), followed by Lebanon and Canada (7%), in addition to European Countries such as Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Russia. Even in this event, there are two days of meetings between supply and demand, exclusively B2B, which provide the participation of 100 buyers, coming from over 30 countries, totalling 2,500 oneto- one appointments, booked online.


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