Italian Tourism: Christmas holidays frozen

Italian Tourism sector’s budget is in the “red”. Italy lost 49.5 million new arrivals and 153.5  million night stays in 5 months. 10.5 million fewer Italians traveled abroad. In August and September the sector did not fare much better, except for a very slight recovery of domestic travel, characterized however by short stays and decidedly reduced spending capacity, reports Confturismo, the Italian Tourism Federation.

The confidence index of the Italian traveler, calculated monthly by SWG however, provided even worse predictions for the immediate future: the propensity to travel, calculated with interviews conducted between 21 and 26 October, drops to 49 points – on a 0-100 scale – the worst result in 6 years of surveys after the 44 points in April, when Italy was in full lockdown: 17 points below in October 2019.

Six out of ten Italians do not even consider taking a holiday between now and the end of the year, and the underlying element of all this is the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, as 64% or respondents say. A fear so ingrained – and this is the major critical issue – is will influence the months to come up to summer 2021, when respondents seriously consider the possibility of taking a holiday of at least 7 days.

A scenario that, if confirmed, would blow up the business of the sector for the forthcoming snow holiday  weeks, Carnival and Easter: it would be the point of no return.

From the answers of the respondents emerges the request for flexibility in contracts for the purchase of tourist services – such as the possibility of canceling without penalties until up to last moment – and real information on the health safety of the destination and the trip. Less important, at this stage, is the economic aspect such as, for example, bonuses and tax deductibility of travel expenses.

According to Confturismo, the great role in the state of the tourism sector is played by the adhesion of all EU countries – starting from Italy – to the “COVID-19 package” launched in October by the European Commission, which includes the recommendation for common rules on travel restrictions, a protocol specifically for rapid health checks on travelers and on the application of quarantines and an immediate and certified exchange of information on epidemiological trends.

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