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Coronavirus has Italian tourism on its knees

coronavirus has Italian tourism on its knees
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (centre), head of Italy’s Protezione Civile Angelo Borrelli (left) and Minister for Health Roberto Speranza (right) lead the Italian task force for coronavirus (Photo: Wikimedia)

Coronavirus has Italian tourism on its knees.

Marina Lalli, Federturismo Confindustria’s vice president declared Coronavirus is bringing Italian tourism to its knees: “the latest, extremely serious news about the diffusion of coronavirus in our country literally brought the tourism industry to its knees. Before the disease spread so widely, we were already facing a loss of about 5 billion euro (5.5 billion USD), but right now… we cannot even estimate the dramatic impact it will have on our industry.”

On the wake of the large diffusion of Covid-19, Lalli explained to Italian daily Corriere della Sera that this year’s tourist season is already compromised: thousands of people cancelled their trips and vacations to Italy and coronavirus is likely to keep Italian tourism on its knees for 2020’s second semester, too: “normally, booking for that time of the year would be already well on the way right now,” she continues.

Tourism: a strong sector of the Italian economy

Coronavirus has Italian tourism on  its knees
Tourists in Taormina, Sicily. Coronavirus threatens to bring Italian tourism to its knees (Image by Kirk Fisher from Pixabay )

Tourism counts for 10% of Italy’s GDP and employs over 4 million people. It is easy to see how a steep decline of the amount of people visiting the country could bring people to say that coronavirus has Italian tourism on its knees.

Federturismo Confindustria, the agency coordinating all tourism-related business and activities in the country, asks Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to officially recognize the emergency status for the whole sector and to implement all necessary support measures required in such a case.

President of Federalberghi (The Italian Hotels Association) Bernabò Bocca weighted in on the same issue with ANSA: “Usually, during the months of February and March, we have about 14.5 million tourists, both Italian and foreigners, staying in our hotels. They count for about 40 million overnight stays. This is not low season in Italy: I think of Carnevale, of skiing holidays, of important fairs and school trips.”

Indeed, news released this morning confirmed that all school trips, cultural visits, exchange programs and sister city programs are to be suspended until the 15th of March. Greece has forbidden school trips to Italy, as well.

Coronavirus has Italian tourism on its knees: losses could be immense

If the experience of Japan, a country that has been battling with coronavirus for some week more than Italy, can show us how it will be, there is nothing to be happy about: it has been estimated that Japan will likely lose 1.3 billion USD in the first three months of 2020 because of the epidemic.

With many countries advising their citizens against traveling to Northern Italy, including Israel and France, it’s easy to see how coronavirus is affecting Italy not only from a health perspective, but also from tourism perspective for a long time.

Read daily update news about coronavirus here.

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