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Facebook to help SMEs benefit from tourism recovery in Italy's rural towns

MILAN, June 3 (Reuters) - Facebook on Thursday announced a programme to promote the digitalization of small and medium-sized businesses in rural villages in Italy in a bid to help them benefit from an expected recovery in tourism after the COVID-19 hit.

One of the most popular travel destinations in the world, Italy is easing travel curbs and restrictions on the hospitality sector to help the country recover from the pandemic.

Under an agreement with the Italian Touring Club, Facebook will offer firms located in some 252 rural villages online courses and other digital tools to improve the visibility of businesses such as bed and breakfasts and craft products shops on online platforms.

Italy, which derives some 13% of its economic output from tourism, suffered a 64% fall in tourist numbers in the first nine month of 2020, according to latest data by national statistics agency Istat. (Reporting by Elvira Pollina; editing by David Evans)

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