The first half of 2021 saw a 37% increase in investments in the hotel real estate sector compared to the same period in 2020, amounting to €480 million, equal to 16% of the total amount invested in Italy (approximately €3 billion). During the first six months of the year, the predominance of investments focused almost exclusively on individual assets for hotel use, a unique circumstance compared to 2020, year in which portfolio transactions accounted for 45.8% of the total, essentially in line with 2019. The biggest portion of capital invested (42%) was in fact concentrated in Venice, with the purchase of two major hotels, Baglioni Luna Hotel and Palazzo Bonvecchiati, each worth €100 million. Although limited in number, transactions in H1 2021 confirm investor preference for high-end assets, predominantly 4- and 5-star hotels, often purchased to be refurbished, repositioned and let to specialised international operators, with a view to creating a portfolio to be redeveloped in around 4 to 5 years. A trend already observed in the past, particularly in 2019, year in which 4- and 5-star hotels accounted for nearly all transactions and capital invested (85% of the total). However, international groups with a view to satisfying business demand have also recently shown interest in lower-end hotels, provided they are located in strategic positions, again to be redeveloped, repositioned, and let to specialised global operators, to create a portfolio that will be redeveloped over five years. During the first half of the year, capital invested was predominantly foreign and accounted for 63% of the total, in line with the trend underway: in 2020, this figure was 85%, and in 2019, it was 77.3%. Nationwide, apart from Venice, the cities that recorded the most transactions were Rome (25%) and Florence (17%).
At the annual level, a decline was inevitably recorded in 2020 for both arrivals (-56.1%) and overnight stays (-60.1%), in the wake of the various effects of the pandemic. With regard to the future outlook, we expect an increase in tourism flows, also due to a slightly more limited decline during the first 5 months of 2021.