MASTERCARD AND TOURISM: A WINNING ALLIANCE

Italy is still one of the most coveted destinations for travellers from Europe and other continents.

For the Germans, Spanish, Dutch, Brazilians and Americans, who, together with the Chinese, represent the largest international tourist flows, Italy is still one of the most-loved destinations. Not only for short breaks but also for longer stays. A choice that Italians themselves also make, favouring the Peninsula over other, even exotic, places. This is what results from the data in the new edition of Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI). The study also confirms another interesting fact: the ever-growing number of tourists from China, an evident sign of the clear and continual growth in the Eastern country’s economy and the high spending capacity of its individual citizens.

In general, the opportunities offered by new payment systems, both in Real Time and others, besides the traditional ones, like credit cards and cash, have had a highly positive impact on the tourism industry. A sector that, despite the global crisis, shows very hopeful signs. Besides giving interesting indications on traveller flows and their spending capacity, the Origins section in Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) report classifies tourist flows based on where the international travellers come from. It can be seen that US citizens are the most willing to travel abroad as are a surprising number of people from continental China, now in second place, rising from seventh in 2009. Germany, United Kingdom and France follow with Italy in 13th place and there is an interesting increase in visitors from the Asia-Pacific region, especially Taiwan and South Korea, whose presence ten years ago was virtually irrelevant but nowadays is permanently perceptible at 10th and 6th place respectively. These flows are able to generate a very respectable turnover, as the study conducted by the World Travel & Tourism Council underlines, according to which the tourism industry contributed to the global economy with 8,800 billion dollars and 319 million jobs in 2018 alone. A trend which is also favoured by the chance to make easy, fast and safe payments, an extremely important flywheel for a nation’s economy.
«International tourism is of fundamental importance for local economies» said Michele Centemero, Mastercard’s Country Manager Italy. «And our country is one of the favourite destinations on a global scale thanks to its blend of culture, history, good food and tradition. Nevertheless, to host these tourists successfully, increasingly more unique and authentic experiences must be offered. In Italy, as in many other countries in the world, Mastercard collaborates with local companies to provide services and cutting-edge solutions able to improve tourist attractions, smart mobility and the consumer’s digital journey by offering innovative, easily accessible and secure experiences». Although Mastercard’s research, conducted through the digital platform Tourism Insights, does record a slight drop in the number of international tourists compared to ten years ago (-0.7% vs 2009), Italy is still one of the most coveted destinations for foreign travellers from Europe and other continents and, out of the top 3, is the country of choice for Germans (15.5%), Spaniards (10.9%), Dutch (8.9%), Brazilians (7.9%) and Americans (5.7%). In order to further support this continuous movement, Mastercard has decided to act as a technological partner to national and international tourism by providing services and solutions, such as the Tourism Insights platform, able to integrate, analyse and compare data as well as digital identity technologies, payments solutions and security, visitor management and infrastructure consultancy to resolve any type of need. In general, Mastercard guides its tourism partners in understanding spending models in order to offer unique experiences that are increasingly more connected, safe and inclusive. Nevertheless, facing international tourism challenges is a difficult task for one organization alone, whether it be a company or a government. Therefore, global collaboration in channelling resources from the various public and private disciplines and sectors in order to encourage innovation is of fundamental importance and must be done from an ever more sustainable viewpoint and with a total vision of the object in question.