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Tourism in Italian cities - Statistics & Facts

Fifth country in the world, and third in Europe, in terms of international tourist arrivals, Italy attracts millions of tourists every year thanks to its fascinating culture, natural landscapes, artistic sites and renowned cuisine. In 2019, data published by the World Travel & Tourism Council show how the tourism sector plays a pivotal role in the country’s economy. As of 2019, the tourism industry contributed to employment in Italy with over 1.5 million jobs and this figure is expected to rise steadily until 2029. Similarly, tourism's direct contribution as a share of GDP – which consisted of 5.7 percent of the Italian gross domestic product in 2019 – is forecast to increase constantly during the next years.

When looking at the most popular destinations, the Italian national Institute of Statistics (Istat) reveals that Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence were the leading municipalities by number of overnight stays as of 2018. In fact, a recent study included Rome and Milan in a list of the leading European tourism destinations by number of overnight stays in 2018. Rome – which was particularly popular among U.S. visitors – topped the list with almost 29 million overnight stays in 2018. Moreover, as confirmed by the arrivals of roughly 4.6 million domestic tourists, the Italian capital was very popular among national travelers too.

Although Rome had the highest number of Airbnb listings as of November 2019, it was not the most expensive Italian city to book an overnight stay in a four-star hotel. As of May 2019, Venice held this record, followed by Florence. However, the number of both international and domestic arrivals in the Serenissima – as the city is nicknamed – rose from 2011 to 2018. Similarly, the province of Milan, capital of Lombardy, recorded a significant increase in terms of international arrivals from 2010 to 2018.

Finally, Florence – rather crowded with international tourists in the summer months of 2018 – is undoubtedly relying on its artistic heritage to attract both international and national visitors. Data show that three of the ten most visited museums in Italy were in the capital of Tuscany as of 2018.

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