Out of almost 200 billion euros in total tourism revenue generated in Italy, directly and through effects on other sectors, the COVID-19 emergency will lead to a loss of at least 60%, according to the least pessimistic outlook. Travel by Italians abroad is also entirely halted and until at least late summer.
Luca Patanè, head of Confturismo Confcommercio, underscored that the sector – which accounts for 13% of GDP according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), 15% of employment and 17 billion euros of contribution to the country’s trade balance according tot eh central bank – is at the center of an unimaginable crisis. “It would be an unforgivable error,” Patanè said, “if the government were not to keep tourism at the center of strategies for the relaunch of the Italian economy after the epidemiological emergency. Even before this crisis the sector was under attack on all fronts by large international economic powers and when the epidemic is over, we will once again have tourists from around the world but we will see almost no trace of their money. It will be all to the gain of a few large, foreign world economies.” Over 30 million Italian and foreign tourists will be lost between March and May, with almost 90 million fewer presences. Tour operators, travel agencies and event organizers have meanwhile decided to join forces to launch a manifesto for Italian tourism using the hashtag #ripartiamodallitalia. They are calling for institutions and Italians to “save a sector that accounts for 13% of GDP and is one of the main drivers of the Italian economy, society, and culture”. The initiative is for the first time bringing together competing private companies, which are urging the government to set up a special fund to help make up for the losses felt by companies in the sector, an extension of the redundancy fund and the creation of vacation vouchers for the summer season.