The Italian hotel sector occupies a leading position in the world for the number of available rooms, ranking in fourth place after the USA, China and Japan, and before Germany and Spain, with a total of 1,091,061 rooms.
Italy has more overnight accommodation facilities than other main European countries, with non-hotel offerings such as bed & breakfasts recording the most growth in recent years.
Over 1,600 hotels belong to hotel chains, with a total of about 180,000 rooms.
The majority of hotels are still owned by families, which has long been considered to be the main barrier to foreign investment.
Hotel management contracts tend to be used only by the international chains.
Only two Italian companies appear in the world ranking of the top 300 hotel companies: the Atahotels Group, ranked 227, and Starhotel, ranked 288.
The Italian tourism market was worth more than 100 billion euro in 2018, of which around 60% was generated by domestic demand and around 40% by international demand.
In 2016, transactions were registered for a total of over 6,600 rooms, of which about 17% (1,150 rooms) were in major cities (Milan, Rome, Venice and Florence), about 4.2 % (279 rooms) were in secondary locations (Taormina, Lucca, Capri and Naples) and about 10% (659 rooms) were in emerging locations (Turin and Syracuse).
The demand from international investors is concentrated on Milan and Rome, but also Florence and Venice.
Rome has started to develop the hyper luxury hotel only quite recently. After 20 years of having only 3 luxury hotels, Rome now hosts 49 hotels with 5-stars, belonging to international brands.
The ability and patience to invest in renovation and change of use procedures can afford opportunities for investors in expensive cities such as Rome and Milan. For example, Bird & Bird recently acted for a private developer who owned an old residential building close to the central University, La Sapienza. The developer sold the building to an international chain for conversion to a hotel and an apart-hotel, with luxury roof facilities including a swimming pool and gym. The deal included a lease agreement, a management agreement, a renovation agreement and a separate management agreement for the parking area located in the underground of the building
The turnover generated by sales and/or leases of the Italian hotel market in 2016 registered a growth of 14.3% compared to 2015, reaching 2.4 billion euros. The Italian market has distinctive elements, such as the interest of international chains in expansion in both the luxury and economy sectors, the wealth of properties to be enhanced, the presence of trophy assets, with consequent creation of territorial value, although at a significant price.
During the course of 2019 high growth volumes and investments are expected from international investors, including some large hotel chains.
Il Solve24Ore, the main economic Italian newspaper.