ROME, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The flows of Chinese travelers to Italy were on the rise, showed data unveiled during opening celebrations for China-Italy year of culture and tourism on Tuesday.
The provisional trend of airport arrivals from China in the first 11 months of 2019 grew by 16 percent on an annual basis, according to a short report by the Italian Tourism Observatory.
All figures were based on estimates provided by Italy's National Tourist Board (ENIT) and on data by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT).
According to the observatory, Chinese visitors to the country registered 5.3 million overnight stays in 2018, an increase of 5.2 percent compared with the previous year.
The increase was "considerably higher than the growth (2.8 percent) generated by the totality of foreign tourists," it noted.
Chinese tourists' spending in Italy also grew considerably, exceeding 650 million euros (721 million U.S. dollars), an increase of 40.8 percent year-on-year.
Analyzing other data provided by the Bank of Italy, ENIT also estimated Chinese tourists to Italy spent at least 353 million euros specifically for cultural holidays in 2018, which represented over half of their total annual expenditure in the country.
And the data also showed interesting trends among the the younger Chinese visitors.
Chinese visitors aged 15-24 spent 9.1 million euros for studying activities in Italy in 2018, and those aged 25 to 34 spent 23.3 million euros, which accounted for 44.5 percent and 12.3 percent of their overall spending in the country, respectively, ENIT estimated on the Bank of Italy data.
The year of 2020 has been designated the China-Italy year of culture and tourism, as the year marks the 50th anniversary of China-Italy diplomatic ties.
An official opening ceremony was held at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, a multicultural complex, in the Italian capital on Tuesday, at the presence of Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism Dario Franceschini and Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang.
It is expected to offer a wide range of cross-cultural activities, tourism events and exchanges between the two countries. (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollars)