MILAN It pays to be in Via Montenapoleone.

Milan’s tony street has been ranked first on the chart of the European fashion destinations compiled by the Global Blue tax-free shopping agency’s data. In the period spanning from December 2016 to November 2017, the average amount spent for the purchase of fashion goods in the street reached 1,809 euros, followed by 1,729 euros in Paris’ Avenue Montaigne and 1,602 euros registered in Calle de Ortega y Gasset in Madrid.

“I’m very proud of this result, as it proves the quality and attractiveness of the products offered in our luxury stores,” said Guglielmo Miani, president of the Montenapoleone District association on Tuesday. Under Miani’s eight-year tenure, the association expanded from representing 18 brands to 150 among fashion and accessories labels and five-star hotels in the area, which includes the nearby streets of Via Verri, Via Santo Spirito, Via Gesù, Via Borgospesso, Via Bagutta and Via Sant’Andrea along with Via Montenapoleone.

In particular, last year Chinese and Russian tourists were the most relevant and active in Milan’s luxury fashion district, as their presence grew 15 percent compared with 2016. The number of American tourists also increased 11 percent.

“In 2017, Milan attracted nine million tourists, up 20 percent compared to 2016,” said Milan’s council member for tourism Roberta Guaineri. She underscored the city has become a complete travel destination and not just a business pole as the incoming of both people under 18 years old and tourists aged 18 to 30 grew 10 percent. “The city has always been considered expensive but data show it still appeals to younger generations,” she noted.

According to Guaineri, Milan’s attractiveness spontaneously grew following the Expo event hosted in 2015. The municipality, also thanks to the partnerships with private institutions, is fueling the city’s appeal by investing in the development of the cultural offer, the improvement of transportation and services and boosting the communication activities.

Structural implementations are also on the rise, as new, modern buildings are defining the city’s evolving skyline and the number of hotels climbed, with luxury accommodations increasing 9.5 percent in the last five years.

“The goal is to manage to keep people in town for business commitments for one or two additional nights, increasing the opportunities for them to spend [money] here,” Guaineri said.

In order to do so, Miani said the promotion of cultural spots and the implementation of further events in the city are key in enhancing Milan’s image.

On a global scale, according to the Bain & Co. management consulting firm, sales of personal luxury goods totaled 249 billion euros, with New York ranked first and accounting for 24.7 billion euros, followed by Paris and London. Milan is the eighth city of the list, totaling 5.6 billion euros.

Miani lamented that New York and London’s discount sales periods, scheduled months in advance compared to the Italian ones, are impacting tourists travel choices. “A balance among us and the other cities would be necessary to compete fairly, but as this is not possible, we just need to put an extra effort, try to do even better and find interesting concepts to attract customers,” Miani concluded.

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