DUCO Italy is a high-end tourism event held annually in Florence, Italy. It promotes the excellence of Italian hospitality to the world’s most important buyers. It’s an invitation-only event featuring top producers, English-speaking travel advisors, and outstanding hoteliers and suppliers from all over Italy. Attendees dive deep into the destination, starting with enriching 15-minute daytime appointments and continuing through engaging nighttime events. The DUCO Travel Summit returns to Florence from March 21 to 25, so we asked the general managers of some of the city’s five-star hotels participating in the event for their thoughts about the importance of DUCO and the current state of play of the luxury hospitality segment in Florence.
In the past two years, we have seen a huge change in travel and hospitality that has affected consumer behavior and made hoteliers reconsider their business models. Our industry has probably seen more changes in these past two years than in previous decades. However, the outlook is constantly improving. We have seen a constant uptick in leisure travel for a few months now as well as early progress for business travel. We believe there is pent-up demand for both the business and leisure travel experiences that people have been missing. To travel has now become a need. While the pandemic has sparked the rise of video calls and webinars, we’ve all felt the pain of using technology for meetings. We are increasingly hearing from our corporate clients that they are eager to get back to face-to-face meetings and events. The hospitality industry is all about people. To see DUCO come back to Florence represents exactly this: the return to both leisure and business travel. We are truly looking forward to welcoming back our old and new friends from the hospitality industry, gathering and interacting confidently and in a safe environment.
Domenico Colella, The St. Regis Florence + The Westin Excelsior
After another challenging year, we couldn’t be happier to see tourists finally coming back to Florence and reserving their stay for this spring and summer. I am confident that this will be a great season for our destination with the return of US tourism, one of this city’s biggest tourist markets. Many people are choosing luxury properties for their stay, trusting those brands for their respect of safety procedures and know-how in organizing and suggesting the best experiences to discover the new, post-pandemic city. We are delighted to be hosting DUCO once again. It’s one of the most important events in Italy, which helps us promote not only Florence, but all of Italy. We are really looking forward to welcoming all of DUCO attendees in the hope that it will bring Florence back to the pre-pandemic visiting volume.
Max Musto, Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
DUCO is definitely among the most anticipated appointments in town concerning world luxury hospitality, but for me as the general manager at Sina Villa Medici Autograph Collection it’s much more. I attended the 2021 edition last July, which was simply a stunning event, especially during such a difficult time for our industry: a great sign for the tourism in our Bel Paese. So, now I literally can’t wait to be part of this 2022 edition, which, together with feeling confident about the upcoming season, will for sure mark the year of the ripartenza: We’ll never give up! Ripartiremo, ri-partiamo!
Fernando Pane, Sina Villa Medici
We have been proud partners of DUCO since the first edition. We have always supported and trusted Carolina, Paula and the fabulous team as they give Florence the chance to host the most important players of the tourism industry and turn the light on the magic of our city. We are pretty optimistic about the renaissance of luxury hôtellerie. We have learnt how to adapt to the new wishes and needs of our guests and we are now noticing a good reservations trend for the upcoming spring and summer as people are more and more willing to travel and come back to la bella Firenze.
Ariela Duina, Villa Cora
“We are very proud and excited at Relais Santa Croce by Baglioni Hotels to be the official registration venue for DUCO 2022. I still have beautiful memories of DUCO 2021 when we were able to meet again in personfor the first time during the pandemic. It was very emotional for all the participants. I’m sure that DUCO 2022 will be an incredible event, four days full of energy and passion. We are already seeing a very good trend in reservations from April onwards and a great desire, on all markets, to be back in Florence.
Gianluca D’Angeli, Baglioni Relais Santa Croce
The hospitality sector has suffered a major setback caused by the pandemic, but crises often spark innovation and improve existing processes. The luxury hospitality segment, with its means, organization, human and financial resources, has undoubtedly led the recovery. The extended closures facilitated investment in structural improvements. General uncertainty and last-minute reservations required greater flexibility, as well as the ability to interpret the market from a different perspective. Luxury hotels were able to organize offers and programmes that went beyond their own structures with a real impact on the destination, acting as a driving force for artisan businesses, cultural institutions and the restaurant scene. The ability to attract high-end clients sparks a virtuous cycle throughout the city and DUCO Travel Summit is a key opportunity to promote top-tier Italian hospitality among international trade professionals.
Sofia Peluso, Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel
Luxury hotels have the opportunity and a responsibility to make their clients and partners more conscious of the necessity we now face. It is essential to return to the local community. If tourism is to acquire further dignity, a higher quality profile must be given to the destination. DUCO is a considerable achievement and continues to be successful, filling a gap on the Italian quality tourism market, which lasted for far too long. It is now ready to move onto the next chapter.
Giancarlo Rizzi, Hotel Savoy
DUCO Travel Summit is the quintessence of excellence, hence the Villa la Massa team are very honoured and excited about being an active part of the event, which crucially leads the ripartenza again, considering that new leading markets like Australia are now open for inbound and outbound travel. DUCO is indeed a great showcase for the new features at Villa La Massa, which is synonymous with an authentic experience in a location where days are marked by the sounds and colors of nature on the banks of the Arno river, just outside Florence.
Stefano Venturi, Villa La Massa
Florence has always been a destination where travelers from all over the world crave not only to visit, but also to return. The DUCO Travel Summit and the choice to host the event in Florence is an affirmation of the important bond between Florentines and the entire world, a new connection made of local, authentic, sustainable and tailor-made experiences and emotions. This is an opportunity to spark a new awareness in the luxury hospitality segment and how it has been able to adapt, improve and continue to be innovative in light of the challenges faced.
Diego Roggero, Portrait Firenze
DUCO is an event that we have supported since its inception when the founder Carolina Perez proposed it to the main five-star hotels in Florence. It is an event that sees us deeply committed not only as hotels, but also as promoters of the city of Florence as a “destination”. It brings together a physical community, which had been created virtually during the pandemic, as hoteliers, suppliers and travel agents on the luxury market gather for the event. After almost two years and in a moment in which finally, thanks also to the vaccination campaign, Florence is laboriously returning to normality, repopulating itself with the tourism that has been missing so much, we are happy to be able to return to having events that highlight conviviality, such as DUCO.
Matteo Gentile, Hotel Lungarno
I am honored to be a part of the IL Tornabuoni team, especially at a time when tourism in Florence is returning in full swing. The five-star independent luxury lifestyle hotel is a dynamic new property with a personality all its own in the heart of the breathtaking Renaissance city and our participation in DUCO Travel Summit is our official launch in the market. I look forward to bringing this unique destination to life and delivering uncompromising service and experiences to our guests.
Domenico Muratore, IL Tornabuoni