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25 July 2019 | in Summer FISU World University Games, Hosting

The Napoli 2019 Effect: Hosting the Summer Universiade boosts economy

From Neapolitan hospitality to the city's renowned culinary scene, Summer Universiade 2019 had a profound regional economic effect 



NAPOLI — “In Europe there are two capitals: Paris and Naples” wrote the 19th century novelist Stendal in the Italian Chronicles.


In a land steeped in historical significance and a city whose essence pours out of every single element, it was fitting to see today’s university student-athletes competing on such a storied forum—and at an event that traces its roots back to the first World Student Games in Paris in 1923.


A city of timeless beauty, Napoli was home and in the spotlight to tens of thousands of athletes and tourists for the first two weeks of July. Memories are filled with flattering feedbacks, as the Canadian mid-distance standout Courtney Hufsmith captured in her first-person account of the 30th Summer Universiade. 


These positive emotions and impacts carried outside the athletes’ village cruise ship and beyond competition areas. Museums and tourist itineraries were flooded for the first 14 days of July—as evidenced by over 20 thousand visitors coming to the Mann Museum to witness the “Paideia. Giovani e sport nell’antichità” exhibit.


Specially curated for the Universiade, the display captured the Napolitan love and history for sports in frescoes and marble sculptures of athletes from the city’s ancient roots.


Event guests coming to Campania region were also a real boom to hotel and tourist accommodation industry. The Italian hotelier association Federalberghi reported a higher than 90 percent accommodations booked in the first week of July during the competition’s opening. This includes full accommodations inside Napoli's historic centre, in Lungomare Caracciolo, and in the railway station neighborhood. It was also even a full house in Fuorigrotta, a Summer Universiade’s outpost.


The percentages dipped a bit in the second week of July, but still exceeded 75 percent. This accounts for over 5 percent uptick compared with the same period last year.

 The Japanese men ran a scintillating half marathon along the streets and oceanfront promenade of Napoli to take the individual and team titles at the 30th Summer Universiade for the second event edition in a row


For Antonio Izzo, president of Federalberghi Napoli, these are very satisfying results. Izzo underlined “the integration, collaboration and mutual knowledge effect created by this event” — and ones that will continue to result in positive spin-offs for the city’s economy. The refurbishment of the sports facilities are valuable resources for the citizens and will pay additional dividends for the hosting of future international events, added Izzo.

The Piscine Scandone was a major event renovation projects that is sure to leave a lasting legacy. "When I visited the Scandone Pool my eyes lit up, said" Massimiliano Rosolino , Olympic gold in Sydney 2000 and Naples 2019 ambassador. 

During the Universiade, regional tourist info points, which included several cultural itineraries for the visiting sports teams were held. Athletes and team officials came back raving about the hospitality and how their cultural tours through food and beverage helped them better get to a true taste of the Campania region experience.

 Napoli's Piazza Plebiscito - the "square of the people" - sits in the heart of city and is home to two admirable monuments: the Napoli Royal Palace and the Church of San Francesco di Paola

Summer school of the best kind was in session as well as “Progetto Museo – Accogliere ad arte” association helped train thousands of the volunteers. These students helped make the event come alive by being aport of the sports and cultural event operation teams during the Summer Universiade.

From translation services to working with team delegations to sports venue preparation, major sports events rely on event volunteers. In turn, the volunteers gain valuable leadership and skills - and a front row seat to the event and its preparation! 

Even city shopping felt the Napoli 2019 effect. According to the Italian business association, the takings were 200 percent higher between the historic-but-trendy shopping promenades of Corso Umberto and Via Toledo.


The assessment for restaurant owners was very positive as well: from Lungomare seafront boulevard to the city’s historic centre, the restaurants and bars of Napoli were bustling with food and beverage at every hour of the day.

 The main athletes' village took place on two luxury cruise liners, with dedicated Universiade traffic lanes and energy-efficient busses bringing teams to training and competition venues

But the favourable trend will not end with the closing of both the event and the Athletes’ Village cruise ships setting off to sea . Many people, more than a thousand, Americans and Canadians in particular, decided to extend their stay in Naples and Campania.


And for good reason. As it was for Oscar Wilde, who came to Napoli after spending two years of hard labour to rejuvenate before he beginning again as a poet and playwright.


“We have a beautiful villa by the sea and a good piano,” Wilde wrote in his travel diary about Napoli. “I feel all my powers come back.”

 Napoli seaside harbour and downtown district by day