Travel online: the market reaches 10.8 billion euros in 2021

The research data from the Digital Innovation in Tourism Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano presented at TTG 2021, highlight how in 2021 in Italy the Travel eCommerce started to grow again (+ 51% compared to last year), reaching 10.8 billion euros. In the pre-pandemic period, the sector was worth € 16.3 billion.

Looking at the various sectors of the travel industry, in 2021 the transport market as a whole (eCommerce and offline) it reaches 8.3 billion euros (+ 30% on 2020) but is still worth less than half of 2019 (18.4 billion), with a net decrease of -55%. The recovery, albeit partial, of the sector is mainly driven by eCommerce transactions, which today represent 62% of the total Transport market (compared to 57% in 2020 and 56% in 2019). In the online channel, operators recorded a stable mix between direct and indirect booking tools, with the former dominating the sector (83%).

The overall market of the Hospitality sector in 2021 it reaches 9.1 billion euros (+ 66%), approaching the values ​​of 2019: after the collapse of 2020 there are “only” 11 percentage points away from those of two years ago (10.3 billion). For accommodation facilities, the weight of eCommerce has grown substantially, which today has become the leading channel with 55% incidence (compared to 45% in 2019).

In the online channel they are mainly direct transactions those that continue to gain relevance in the mix: from 23% in 2019, in 2021 there is in fact an increase of as much as 24 percentage points, which today leads them to represent almost half (47%) of the entire sector. To push the growth of online is above all the sector ofextra-hotel hospitalitywhich reaches a value of 3.2 billion euros in 2021 compared to 1.9 billion for the hotel industry.

The turnover of the Organized tourism (tour operators and cruises) continues to suffer greatly: in fact, compared to the pre-pandemic year, the decline is still -66% in 2021. Even for travel agencies, the proceeds remain in sharp decline with -72% compared to 2019, to in the face of a decrease in personnel which stopped at -21%.


The numbers therefore give a snapshot of an evolving sector, in which the PNRR can favor a decisive increase in competitiveness and raise the overall quality of the market through a constant and determined digitization.

“Another fundamental area of ​​work to move the Italian tourist offer towards increasingly premium segments is the conversion towards sustainability and the sector is already operating in this sense: this is demonstrated by the fact that already today 87% of Italian accommodation facilities implement at least one action linked to this theme “, underlines Filippo RengaDirector of the Digital Innovation in Tourism Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic

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