The paper sets out to explore the complexities and potential of Italy’s tourism destination in order to determine how government, firms and civil society can benefit from tourism and avoid its negative impacts. To achieve this aim, the research uses and adapts a theoretical model of destination competitiveness. Results indicate that main problems of Italian destination arise above all from the weakness of National tourism governance. The study highlights that the competitiveness of tourism destination can be improved by shifting from a micro, local level to a macro, national level. Another central question underlying this paper is whether education system in tourism has been adequately represented in destination competitiveness models. The influence of education system on tourism, intended as a key determinant of success in supporting strategies of tourism destination, suggests some directions of further investigation on destination competitiveness.