Unexpected Milan – a new luxury destination on the global stage

unexpected milan

The latest edition of ILTM – the leading event for the global luxury travel industry, that takes place in Cannes every year – saw a special showcase dedicated to the city of Milan and its unique potential as a high-end tourist destination. ILTM is an invitation-only tradeshow for global travel professionals: its mission is to offer travel agents and buyers an exclusive platform to compare travel experiences, build relationships and do business, adapting the industry to the ever-changing demands of international travellers in our fast-paced world. The December 2017 edition was built around the team #Keeptheworldmoving. This was the context for the “Unexpected Milan” showcase, which presented Milan as the Ultimate Italian Destination.

Unexpected Milan

Several institutions came together to participate in this ambitious project: Milan City Council, the Montenapoleone District and several of the most renowned 5-starred hotels in the city. The goal of the “Unexpected Milan” showcase was to promote Milan as a top international tourist destination for 2018, to a crowd of luxury travel professionals. The “Unexpected” side of the event lies in the fact that Milan consistently proves harder to discover than most Italian cities. Milan’s established vocation as a business hub occasionally overshadows its touristic potential and, in the same way, its prominent landmarks – such as the Duomo and the Sforza Castle – distract attention from a number of stunning and relatively undiscovered attractions, such as outstanding works by contemporary archistars, as well as historic buildings that embody the true identity of Italy’s fashion and design capital. There is a secret Milan, an “Unexpected Milan”, stretching through courtyards and railing-style houses, of quaint little cafes that add a touch of poetic charm to the city’s eminently practical character and legendary efficiency. Discovering Milan’s beauty is a journey through its multi-layered personality, that only unveils its secret little corners to those who look beyond the sleek surface of a bustling European business capital. In this sense, Milan is still Italy’s best kept secret.

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There is no contradiction between these two sides of Milan: the quaint and romantic on one side and the professional and futuristic on the other. The ultimate Milan experience is essentially two-fold. That’s why, as well as focusing on the secret beauty of “Unexpected Milan”, the city has also created “YesMilano”, a new promotional brand for the travel industry, which will highlight the important international events that take place in the City every year, from the Fashion Week to the numerous tradeshows that engage a variety of industries. Business travel and luxury travel often go hand-in-hand: it is only natural that a popular business travel destination, such as Milan, should develop a flourishing luxury travel industry, providing accommodation, entertainment and unique experiences to affluent travellers that visit the City on business, but expect to spend high-quality leisure time.

Quality over quantity

While Milan is aiming at growing its reputation as a tourist destination, it is not, however, looking at the same kind of popularity currently enjoyed by cities such as Rome, Venice and Florence. It is a well-known fact that these three icon of Italian identity in the world are constantly overrun with tourists, to a point where local residents find it difficult to coexist with the endless influx of visitors and local resources are spent faster than they can be replenished. The main goal of projects such as “Unexpected Milan” ad “YesMilano” is to draw quality, high-end tourism. The profile of the ideal visitor that these campaigns are aimed at is someone who travels more or less regularly to Milan for work or to attend sporting or cultural events, but is willing to extend their stay by a few days to explore the city.

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She is a part-time digital nomad. She would go full-time, if only she could stay away from Berlin for long enough without pining for a Pretzel. She was born in Italy and she enjoys life as an expat, but visits home often enough and can still remember how to bake a perfect lasagna. She is passionate about writing, marketing, languages and the systematic demolition of cultural stereotypes.

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