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Rome 12th most visited city in world

9.6 million international tourists expected to visit Rome in 2017.

Rome ranks in 12th place on the 2017 Top 100 City Destinations survey, according to statistics compiled by market researcher Euromonitor International.

The Italian capital is predicted to draw 9.6 million international tourists by the end of 2017, representing a growth of 1.8 per cent compared to last year's figure of 9.4 million visitors.

Hong Kong retains its crown as the planet's most visited city for the ninth consecutive year, with 25.7 million international tourists expected in 2017, despite a predicted 3.2 per cent drop from its 26.55 million visitors in 2016. In second place is Bangkok (21.25 million in 2016; 23.27 expected in 2017) followed by London (19.19 million last year; 19.8 expected this year).

Although Rome is the third most visited European city - after Paris in seventh place with 14.26 million visitors expected this year -  it only attracts half the number of foreign tourists that flock to London.

The three other Italian cities on the list are: Milan in 27th place with 6.8 million, Venice in 38th place (5.2 million) and Florence in 44th position with 4.9 million tourists.

The survey coincides with Italy's participation as "Official Premier Partner" at the World Travel Market (WTM), currently taking place in London, in an effort to capitalise on its growing tourism sector which recorded a 16 per cent increase in arrivals in 2016.

Addressing the event, Italy's ambassador to the UK Pasquale Terracciano said the development is thanks to spreading tourism around the country, away from the traditionally popular regions of Campania, Tuscany and Veneto.

Ambassador Terracciano also credited the positive statistics with the southern Italian city of Matera becoming the 2019 European Capital of Culture, as well as efforts to promote Italy's borghi, or ancient towns, as new tourist destinations.

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