The incoming visitors spent €39.1 billion in Italy last year, almost €3 billion more than in 2016, according to Banca d’Italia data presented by the International Centre for Studies on Tourism Economics (Ciset) this week at a conference on Italy’s international tourism industry in Venice.
Ciset calculates that the international tourists added €41.3 billion to the Italian economy, equivalent to boosting the GDP by 1.5 percent.
Rome is already Italy’s biggest destination, was the chief beneficiary of the boom: the capital’s tourist takings rose by 20.3 percent last year, to €6.74 billion.
Italy’s northern tourist hotspot, Venice, registered a 19.4 percent increase in spending, while Naples, gateway to many of the attractions of the south, saw a rise of 17.8 percent.
Milan and Florence, meanwhile, had spending drop by 2.4 and 6.3 percent respectively.
On average, Ciset said, foreign tourists spent €100 per head for each of the 6.3 days that they stayed, making each visitor worth around €629 to Italy.
Germans were the most valuable visitors, making up nearly 17 percent of Italy’s total tourist revenues. Their spending increased by 14.7 percent in 2017, compared to a 6.9 percent boost for French tourists and a 4.5 percent increase for Brits.
US tourists, however, pinched their pennies: their spending dropped by 1.7 percent compared to the year prior, though even so they continue to be the second-biggest spenders in Italy after Germans.
Italy’s cultural attractions were the main moneymaker, bringing in €15.5 billion, followed by beaches with €5.5 billion. Some of the fastest growing sectors, meanwhile, were ecotourism, food and wine tours and adventure travel.