Rimini, October 12 - The number of nights guests spent at Italian hotels in the first nine months of this year was up 2.9% with respect to the same period in 2016, according to figures presented Thursday by hoteliers' association Federalberghi at the TTG Incontri event in Rimini. It said Italian guests were up 2.2% and foreign visitors had risen by 3.5%. "It has been an exceptional year for Italian tourism," Federalberghi President Bernabò Bocca told ANSA. "The sector is already, and will continue to be, a lead player in the recovery and job rises because it cannot be externalised or mechanised. "But there must be no resting on our laurels. Italy must live off tourism and I hope the argument that helping the sector is a good thing prevails".