Media Area

Slow walking tourism, ENIT-Touring Club Italiano study to catalogue the walking trails

5 February 2024
Slow walking tourism, ENIT-Touring Club Italiano study  to catalogue the walking trails





An ENIT and Touring Club study puts Italian walking trails and the associated tourist offering in order: 100 routes were identified covering a total of about 30,000 km, with the ones most visible to potential users being analysed, i.e. those with dedicated tourist websites, 63 in all. The study, also featured at BIT in Milan and carried out in collaboration with Ipsos, places the emphasis on walking tourism, i.e. itinerant tourism, carried out mainly on foot in generally rural or mountainous settings for naturalistic, religious/spiritual or mental and physical well-being reasons.

  1. 76% of the websites list the services/conventions available along the route, provide gpx tracks and describe the attractions of the various areas;
  2. 75% of the websites issue credentials/testimonials;
  3. 73% of the websites link to a social channel (Facebook is in first place, Instagram second and YouTube third);
  4. 70% of the websites offer official guides or printed/downloadable information materials;
  5. 52% of the websites are multilingual (English always present);
  6. 35% of the websites offer the opportunity to purchase packages/excursions;
  7. 25% of the websites provide an alert service to inform hikers of the conditions on the route.

The study also reports the results of an opinion poll conducted between 15 August and 15 September 2023 on representative samples of the Italian population (1,000 cases) and also the French, British and German populations (500 cases per country), using the CAWI method.

Great attention was also paid to slow tourism (walking and cycling): in Italy, tourists of this type (those who have already experienced this type of tourism and would like to do so in the future) are estimated at 3.6 million, in France 4.8 million, 5.6 in Germany and 7.1 in the United Kingdom. For all these markets, the favourite country for a slow holiday is always Italy. The regions chosen by Italians see Trentino-Alto Adige in first place (followed by Tuscany, Umbria and Sicily), while the French and British choose Sicily (followed by Tuscany in second place) and the Germans choose Tuscany, followed by Sicily.

Walking tourism is also increasing its market share and overall, and Italy has seen are an estimated 2.7 million walking tourists, with 4.5 million visiting France, 4.6 million in Germany and 5.4 million the UK.

"Slow tourism is a fast-growing segment that also favours sustainability, especially in terms of seasonal adjustment, decongestion of flows and the creation of new job opportunities. In addition, it is a way of travelling that pairs well with food and wine, an identity factor known throughout the world and with a very strong power of attraction for Italian and foreign tourists. Organising a system of walking trails as a tourism product, with their specific identities and homogeneity, is one of the government's challenges in the area of tourism in general. In addition, religious trails - to which we allocated an additional 15 million in the last budget law, making a total of more than 19 million -, are a precious opportunity in the run-up to the 2025 Jubilee, which will see more than 30 million tourists arrive in the capital alone. This event is an opportunity we must be ready to manage. On the other hand, we all have to work together - ministry, regions and walking trail managers - to establish a roadmap of interventions in terms of practicability, signposting, ancillary services and targeted communication campaigns,” says Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè.

"The importance of developing walk-related tourism lies in the fact that this form of tourism offers a unique, enriching and sustainable experience for both travellers and the local communities. The trails are a cultural and spiritual heritage of inestimable value that offers an opportunity for us to promote the preservation and enhancement of historical and cultural routes. The trails are ancient communication routes that have played a fundamental role in the history of the local populations. Through well-managed tourism, these routes can be preserved and protected, ensuring the preservation of the cultural and historical heritage of the regions concerned. An opportunity for local communities to achieve economic development. Visitors who walk the trails need services such as accommodation, restaurants, tour guides and transport. This demand creates a number of job opportunities for local residents, thus helping improve the economic conditions of the communities concerned. In addition, tourism linked to walking trails can foster the emergence of craft activities and local production, allowing communities to promote their traditions and resources,” comments Ivana Jelinic, President and CEO of ENIT.

"This study on walking tourism, which Touring Club Italiano hopes to be able to update in the coming years by increasing the number of trails analysed, increases our awareness of the importance of this type of tourism, which is relatively young for our country, but which has had a strong impetus since the pandemic. During that period, the already well-established core of walking tourists were joined by many more, driven by the need to make contact with nature and the desire to get to know Italy from a different point of view. The study and the recent 'Cammini e percorsi' (Trails and routes) certification are proof of TCI's tangible commitment to an increasingly sustainable tourism”, says Giulio Lattanzi, Director General of the Touring Club Italiano.

Francesca Cicatelli

ENIT Press Office

Phone: +39 392 9225216