Germany, the United States and France are the three reference markets of Tuscan tourism, comprehensively providing one third of the 6.5-7 million foreigners traveling to the region every year. According to the inquiry ISNART (National Tourism Research Institute) conducted on behalf of the Region of Tuscany’s Tourist Observatory, at the international level, Tuscany is chosen firstly for its natural beauty; secondly because it is considered an ideal context for relaxation; and thirdly for its cultural and artistic heritage. The first two factors correspond to the principal motivations for which tourists choose Italy, whereas the third factor carries a much heavier weight for Tuscany.
It is precisely the cultural offer that serves as the primary appeal to the German tourist who, according to ISTAT data, represents the primary consumer of the Tuscan tourism industry. In 2012, Germany accounted for 12% of the international arrivals, with nearly 800,000 travelers throughout the year, and for 19% of overall stays, with 4.3 million. Both indicators have registered an increase, of 5% and 6% respectively, compared to the previous year. German tourists are also “distinguished” in another category: with 76 Euros spent in the purchase of goods and services during their stay in Tuscany, they also rank first in terms of expenditure among international tourists. Additionally, reaching a Tuscan city costs the traveler coming from Germany141 Euros, on average, while the stay costs slightly less than 50 Euros per night. The localities in the Livorno province and the Florentine ones are the most common destinations for the German visitor. The second reference market is represented by the United States, composed of tourists that mostly aim for the region’s artistic city – in fact, more than 60% choose Florence as a destination – but who are also attracted to the region’s food and wine offerings and agritourism vacations. Despite registering a slight decrease, between 1% and 2%, in 2012, the arrival of 700,000 US tourists represents 12% of the total, and accounts for 10% of the foreign demand, with 2.2 million stays. The accentuated availability to spend for both lodging (54 Euros per person per day) and for extras (71 Euros, on average) are the distinguishing characteristics of the French traveler: however, in 2012 the market registered a 5% decrease in both arrivals, which stopped at 514,000, as well as stays – 1.6 million.
The ISNART inquiry also identified six “target markets” based on their potential in relations to Tuscany’s touristic offer. In the first place, Spain, which is currently in heavy decline, and whose room for growth may be in the form of sports tourism. The Swiss market is very promising: firstly because it is already in the development phase and, above all, because it is composed of visitors who tend to stay in vacation locations for longer periods of time and with higher than average budgets. Belgium, Austria and Japan are the other three possible outlets towards which to aim Tuscany’s tourism offer in the short term.