MILAN The Expo 2015 hosted by Italy’s fashion capital Milan is not the only attraction appealing to international tourists and visitors.

A press conference here Thursday titled, “Luxury Tourism during Expo,” organized by Global Blue in collaboration with Prima Classe Italia, explored the dynamics of top spending nationalities during Expo.

Since April, Global Blue, which specializes in services and tax-free shopping for foreign visitors,  measured the visitor flow and purchasing dynamics in its Italian lounge, located in the heart of the fashion district, in via della Spiga.

“We note that one of the main levers to capture the attention of international tourists when they visit a country is the focus of high-level hospitality able to intercept most of their needs,” said Antonella Bertossi, marketing sales manager of Global Blue Italia.

According to Bertossi, Milan has worked hard in that direction in recent months and has attracted mainly Asian tourists (39 percent), led by the Chinese, who showed interest in the services of the Italian lounge, followed by Russian customers (22 percent) and American visitors (11 percent).

South Americans accounted for 4 percent of the total, but a peak of arrivals from the region is expected in August, according to the organizers of the Expo, which confirmed 300,000 sold tickets for Argentina and Brazil, respectively.

Milan’s favored shopping spots remain via Montenapoleone and via della Spiga and the city, accounting for 35 percent of tax-free shopping, is the preferred destination for international tourists to acquire Made in Italy products, Bertossi said, noting a growth of 10 percent of purchases in June compared to the same period last year.

Chinese visitors remain the top spenders with 33 percent of purchases, marking an increase of almost 60 percent compared to the same period last year. Russia is second with 15 percent and America is the third top spender with 5 percent of total purchases.

Prima Classe Italia, the national trade association of residences and high-quality Italian experience, also confirmed the growth of luxury visitors, noting an occupancy of 71.2 percent in May relating only to five-star hotels, recognizing a clear trend toward the top segment of the market.

“It seems that [the] Italian excellence is currently being upgraded,” said Giorgio Caire di Lauzet, president of Prima Classe Italia, who added that between 2013 and 2014 the number of five-star hotels has doubled, very often through foreign investors.

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