Tourist numbers in Italy hit record in 2023, foreigners a majority

June 12, 2024 - 11:39 AM
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Climate activists pour vegetable charcoal in the Trevi Fountain water, during a demonstration against fossil fuels, in Rome, Italy May 21, 2023 in this image obtained from social media. (Alessandro Penso/MAPS via Reuters)

 Tourism in Italy hit a record high last year and foreigners made up the majority for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, national statistic bureau ISTAT said on Tuesday last week.

Registered arrivals in accommodation such as hotels rose a yearly 13.4% to more than 134 million in 2023, the highest ever figure. The total number of nights spent in hotels and other similar facilities increased almost 10% to 451 million.

After a period when domestic tourism predominated, starting from the pandemic in 2020, foreign stays again accounted for the majority.

Italy, long a favored destination for tourists from around the world, is seeking to regulate the number of visitors to some of its main attractions at peak times.

Venice is charging an entry fee of 5 euros ($5.43) for day trippers during the busiest periods and a number of other destinations have taken steps to avoid being overrun by tourists.

Lazio and Lombardy were the regions which registered the strongest year-on-year growth in tourism, due to a sustained rise of numbers in Rome and Milan, ISTAT said.

The foreign presence was stronger in the north-east of Italy, home to cities such as Venice, and weaker in the south of the country.

($1 = 0.9203 euros)

—Reporting by Antonella Cinelli, editing by Keith Weir