The tourism monitoring unit of the province of Florence released its semi-annual flows report on September 15, showing encouraging data throughout the province. Numbers of incoming tourists were particularly high within the city of Florence. This year’s data indicates a 3.9% increase, with over 200 thousand more overnight stays than in 2013. Florence’s Councillor for Economic, Tourism and Metropolitan Development, Giovanni Bettarini, remarked that the numbers ‘not only contrast with the general contemporary landscape of Italy, but indicate a growth and renewed dynamism of the tourism sector of Florence.’
The hospitality industry recorded about 131 million overnight stays. The non-hotel sector, which includes apartment rentals and B&B’s, grew by 4.0%, with an additional 67 thousand overnight stays reported. Much of the significant growth occurred during the months of January, February and April, so tourist numbers were high by May.
The growth is an encouraging sign for Italy’s struggling economy. Giovanni Battarini put the data into perspective, urging that it be used ‘to seek out new investments, using it as a tool to overcome the difficulties of the job market and economic crisis.’