Italy - The Tourists Are Leaving Italy. Now Catastrophe Looms
Rome (CNN) — For all too brief a time, the Italian summer offered a glimmer of hope. After emerging from what was in early 2020, one of the world's harshest coronavirus lockdowns, Italy managed to dust itself down in time to welcome visitors.
But as the sun begins to cool, so do hopes of a full recovery for Italy's decimated 2020 tourism season. Winter is coming, and with it what is expected to be a full-blown economic catastrophe.
The Italian government, like many across the world, has been doling out cash to help support many ailing businesses and individuals, but with many global travel restrictions still in place, lost revenues from the country's faltering travel industry leaves a gaping financial hole that must now be filled.
"Tourists are what we need to keep going," says Cassandra Santoro CEO and founder of travel planning service, Travel Italian Style. "Our guides, drivers and workers from Piedmont to Sicily who thought they would be out of work for a season, are now exploring other jobs and income sources."
Anyone visiting Italy in August could've been forgiven for thinking almost everything was back to normal, bar the facemasks and social distancing. Culturally set in stone as a holiday month for Italians, it saw many locals enjoying a hard-earned break as best they could.
But even with 60% of Italians managing a break -- almost all of them in Italy -- and the influx of some northern European visitors, the forecast is abysmal.
"The projected 2020 loss from overseas visitors to Italy is €24.6 billion and even domestic traveler spending is down €43.6 billion," says Giorgio Palmucci, president of the Italian national tourist board, ENIT.
Even with hopes of growth and recovery two years down the line, the pain, he adds, is likely to be widespread.
"All Italian cities are expected to be significantly impacted, particularly those more dependent on international visitors like Venice, Florence and Rome."