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Tourism: South Tyrol's Christmas markets open

Tourism: South Tyrol's Christmas markets open

Bolzano - Christmas in South Tyrol starts. The Provinces 5 Christmas Markets (in Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone, Brunico and Vipiteno) will remain operative until January 6. The tradition of Christmas Markets in Italy's northern Province has now been flourishing for three decades. This weekend, various skiing facilities will become operational, thanks to the low night-temperatures in the mountains, which have permitted the use of snow cannons to create artificial snow. On the highest peaks, natural snow already reaches a depth of 60 centimeters. In Bolzano, meanwhile, public debate is underway on the cost incurred by the Municipality for painting the "new jersey" cement barriers installed for security purposes... amounting, it seems, to 49,000 euros. Already last year, after the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin, barriers were set up in the roads leading to the Bolzano market area. Over the years, in addition to the five historic Market sites, various other South Tyrol towns, especially in the mountains, have begun to set up their market stalls. These include San Candido in Val Pusteria, Chiusa in Val d'Isarco, Castelrotto and various locations in Val Gardena. Tourists are particularly attracted by stalls selling clothing and, especially, traditional gastronomic specialties such as strudel, apple fritters, Zelten and vin brule. South Tyrols Christmas Markets are increasingly becoming major contributors to the area?s economic and image benefits. The shopping carried out by visitors brings income to the stall-holders, but also to the rest of the city.

The results of a survey by IRE (the Economic Research Institute of the Bolzano Chamber of Commerce) demonstrate that - compared to a survey conducted ten years ago - the behavior of visitors has changed very little, and that the degree of satisfaction is still high. The majority of visitors continue to come from Italy. Eight out of ten come from Italy (South Tyrol excluded). Compared to 2007/2008, however, the percentage of visitors from Southern Italy and the islands has risen notably. As was the case in the 2007/2008 season, among visitors from outside South Tyrol, the proportion of tourists who come for more than one day (65.4%) is much higher than that of day-trippers (34.6%). The average stay of those who remain for more than a day is 4.2 days. The preferred transport option is by private cars, both to reach South Tyrol and to travel within the Province. For the overall journey, compared to ten years ago the airports of the neighboring regions are now more frequently used. Interestingly, many travelers visit more than one market. On average, visitors spend c. 47 euros in the market, on food and on gift items. The shops and gastronomic enterprises of the city benefit by a further 93 euros, spent by Christmas Market visitors elsewhere, on food, clothing and other articles. A particularly important festive event, both for locals and for thousands of visitors, is that of "Nikolaus e dei Krampus" ("Saint Nicolas and the Devils"), which takes place between December 5 and 6. One of the most famous is that of Vipiteno.