Southern Europe Is Open But Tourists Are Few

Southern Europe Is Open But Tourists Are Few

Despite government incentives, travel bookings are down in Italy, The New York Times reported.

While tourism is returning to southern Europe from Portugal to Greece, not every country is benefitting from the resurgence as COVID-19 has returned to some nations.

Italy has seen reservations fall by 80 percent, and ferries to the Greek islands are carrying fewer passengers compared to pre-pandemic travel, the Times reported.

It appears Italy’s holiday bonus to promote national tourism of a 150 euro ($171) voucher per Italian for lodging, up to 500 euros ($571) per family, has had little impact.

There has been an uptick in travel as Europeans have started to trek within their own countries, but fewer are going beyond their borders, the Times reported.

Flights to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Spain, carried 15 million visitors last year, but the flight capacity this month is 30 percent of what it was a year ago, and just 20 percent of tourist beds have opened, the newspaper reported.

“We are doing our best to highlight the fact that we now have almost no virus problem,” Jorge Marichal, president of Cehat, the Spanish hotel group, told the Times. “But, of course, we cannot transport the tourists here ourselves.”

Earlier this month, PYMNTS reported the four-month lockdown on international and domestic tourism could cost the U.S. more than $187 billion, according to a study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

China comes in second, with losses of more than $104 billion, followed by Thailand ($47.7 billion), France ($47.2 billion), Germany ($46.2 billion), Spain ($44.1 billion), the United Kingdom ($37 billion), Italy ($34.2 billion), Japan ($30.7 billion) and India ($28.1 billion).

Last month, PYMNTS reported global travel is on hold for the summer because too many people fear contracting the virus while traveling abroad.

One answer, proposed by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is “travel bubbles” that allow residents of the three nations to move between them but keep out all other international travelers who could contaminate the “bubble.”

One thing seems clear: A PYMNTS’ consumer studies survey found almost half of Americans surveyed, 49 percent, report suffering from cabin fever, 50 percent want to travel domestically and 20 percent said they hope to resume international travel.


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