Christmas incentive travel has grown in popularity over the years. While most of the holidays are traditionally spent with family and close friends, it has become increasingly common for companies to take their employees away for a long weekend in December, as a way of celebrating the past year’s achievements and motivating the team for the year to come. Incentives, of course, are often offered to clients as well as employees, or they are used as a way of rewarding top managers for their work. Whatever the reason, companies all over the world are now interested in Christmas incentive travel and, according to several studies, several of their favourite destinations are in Italy. Most of the international tourists visiting Italy on Company Christmas trips come from the EU, but, over the past two years, an increase has been recorded in business travellers coming from the US, China, and Canada. Here’s a list of their favourite destinations.
The 3 top Italian destinations for Christmas incentive travel
Sicily, in general, is a big favourite of international companies, when it comes to Christmas incentive travel. Palermo is the most popular destination, partly because its status as regional capital makes it more prominent and partly for its lively cultural scene and famed architectural beauty. Visiting Palermo over Christmas means getting the best of Sicilian tradition, with a lively art scene and nightlife that rivals the offer of most European capitals. If you choose Palermo as your Christmas incentive travel destination, be sure to visit the cathedral – a magnificent building that incorporates influences from the Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassical and Moorish styles. And, of course, you should never pass on the opportunity to taste the local Christmas dishes, including the famous cassata and several fish-based delicacies.
Is it any wonder that the regional capital of Tuscany and the place of origin of the Renaissance should be among the most popular Christmas incentive travel destinations worldwide? The whole region, of course, is a favourite of business and leisure travellers all year long, but Christmas is a special time in Florence. Even more special than usual, that is. The city centre will be closed to traffic, with only the local shuttle buses transporting both the locals and the vast crowd of international tourists to and from the rest of the city and the most important hotels. Interestingly enough, most companies, when booking excursions and experiences for their teams in Florence, during the Christmas holidays, tend to favour gourmet tours over the more traditional artistic and cultural ones, or at least to include more tastings (especially cheese- and wine-tastings) and tours of traditional craftsman workshops than they would at any other time of year.
The charm and magic of Rome at Christmas are irresistible. It may not be an original destination, but it is, simply put, breathtakingly beautiful. The traditional Christmas decorations create a unique atmosphere that always makes you feel like Christmas is merrier and more vibrant in Rome than anywhere else. The traditional Christmas markets that can be found between Piazza Navona, along the river Tiber and in the popular area of Testaccio maintain a unique authentic taste and are still vastly attended by the locals. If you choose Rome as your Christmas incentive travel destination, don’t forget to book a traditional Christmas dinner, featuring local delicacies such as the rack of lamb or the delicious “Roman-style” artichokes.