According to a Global Blue report released on Wednesday, in the first two months of 2016, tax-free purchases in Italy grew 6 percent compared to the same period last year, with the average transaction amount stable at 762 euros, or $831 at the average exchange rates.
Chinese tourists increased 10 percent compared to the first two months of 2015, while tourists from the United States increased the average transaction amount by 33 percent. Japanese tourists made the biggest purchases, with their average transaction amount at 816 euros, or $890, up 16 percent compared to the last year.
The positive figures dovetail from a strong 2015, when tax-free shopping in Italy rose 16 percent compared to 2014. In particular, purchases by American tourists jumped 56 percent last year. These counterbalanced the 41 percent drop in the presence of Russian tourists, hemmed in by a withering ruble, anemic oil prices and other lingering economic woes.
In order to offer a high-end service to international visitors, Global Blue opened a lounge on Milan’s Via Santo Spirito, in the heart of the Golden Triangle luxury shopping district. There, tourists will be able to get their tax reimbursements and access concierge and personal shopping services.