Identikit walkers: mostly women, between the ages of 50 and 65 and from Northern Italy

The photography of the Compagnia dei Cammini, a non-profit association that since 2010 has been promoting the culture of walking and proposing walking itineraries in Italy and Europe

The typical walker is a woman, comes from Northern Italy, is between 50 and 65 years old and prefers to walk in seaside places. It is the identikit of those who made trips on foot in 2021, which emerged from a photograph of the Compagnia dei Cammini, a non-profit association that since 2010 has been promoting the culture of walking and proposing walking itineraries in Italy and Europe.

In its analysis, carried out on a sample of 1,330 walkers who made at least one journey on foot in 2021, the Compagnia dei Cammini tells of a predominantly female ‘people on foot’: during the last year, in fact, they were the 67.5% of women who participated in slow-paced journeys and, consequently, 32.5% of men. The age range of walkers is mainly between 50 and 65 years (55%), followed by the youngest between 31 and 49 years (26%), but they are not absent people between 66 and 85 years of age who still make up 13.5% of walkers. Those between 19 and 30 years of age are less interested in walking and are only 1.7%.

If we divide Italy into macro-areas, in this tourism sector, the lion’s share is in Northern Italy with 72% of walkers, followed by the Center with 15%, while from the South and the islands only 8% of walkers arrive on foot.. 3.61% of walkers come from abroad (Switzerland, France, Germany).

As for the professions, 35% of them have an employee job, in 17.5% of cases they are freelancers, while 15% come from the health sector, retirees are 14%, teachers 7.5%; the percentages of blue-collar workers (1.2%) and unemployed (1%) are very low.

The most popular destinations. Due to the pandemic, 2021 is confirmed as the second anomalous year also for this niche tourism, with a delay of the season that lasted only 8 months out of 12. LMoreover, the difficulty of traveling abroad has made requests for travel to other countries rather rare. The snapshot of the Compagnia dei Cammini tells that 95% of people passionate about walking have walked the Italian roads, while less than 5% have managed to walk in Europe. “When we talk about walking we are not talking about a one-day excursion, but a trip of over three days that becomes a real ‘experience’, more demanding but also very satisfying – he explains Luca Gianotti, coordinator of the Compagnia dei Cammini – After the difficulties of 2020, in 2021 we left with great enthusiasm and even if, as guides we only worked a few months, there was a good turnout of walkers on foot trips, even at the first experience. There are many who, with the difficulties of leaving the Italian borders, have decided to rediscover the slow pace, seeking sharing, team spirit, contact with nature “.

21% of walkers in 2021, therefore, chose to walk on the islands, thus seeking contact with the most exotic places (Sicily, Crete, Sardinia in particular), while 43.5% of walkers chose the sea; they follow the most hilly or low mountain paths; only 21.5% preferred to walk in the mountains, a figure which – according to the Compagnia dei Cammini – is indicative of a great change in the perception of traveling on foot: if once you only went on foot in the mountains, now you are looking for even more.

But what level of difficulty did the walkers choose this year? Exactly half of the sample preferred 2-footprint trips, i.e. medium-easy trips; another quarter (26%) dared more, choosing 3-track journeys, therefore already more demanding; 15% chose quiet trips, even with a fixed base and star trails, many of them are at their first experience; the most difficult trips, in which you walk with large differences in height, carry heavy backpacks and you can even sleep in tents, attract a very small slice of walkers, only 2.6% in fact have an expert profile.