Cemetery tourism could boost Italian economy

Hundreds of thousands could visit cemeteries, experts tell ANSA

(ANSA) Rome, May 21 -Italy boasts more than half of Europe's historic or unusual cemeteries of interest to tourists but is poorly organised to develop this specialised sector of the tourism market, a survey made available exclusively to ANSA says.
    As many as 192 Italian graveyards are of touristic interest, representing 55% of the total in Europe, followed by Spain with 29 interesting cemeteries, France with 22 and Britain with 20 cemeteries suitable for tourists, according to the report by the Jfc company. Less than half of Italy's most attractive cemeteries offer tourist visits, however, the report says, adding that the regions whose cemeteries offer most interest to foreign and Italian visitors are Tuscany, Sicily and Emilia Romagna.
    Currently some 45,000 tourists visit Italian cemeteries each year but there is potential to jack up the figure to 400,000. Tourists are attracted to cemeteries for cultural visits, because they are seen as a kind of museum and in order to visit the tombs of famous people, such as the English poets John Keats and Percy Shelley at the 'Acatholic' (Protestant) Cemetery in Rome.


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