The Coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed various sectors of the world economy; in particular, the tourism industry has seen a sudden collapse and there is no prospect of a quick or easy recovery. This is a real short-circuit in one of the key sectors of the Italian economy, which generates around 13% of the national GDP, 15% of employment, and over 40 billion euros in profits (source: World Travel end Tourism Council). Below are the most useful data for understanding the extent of the current crisis in the tourism sector in Italy (2020). Let's ask ourselves: 1. how much money will Italy lose due to the tourism crisis? 2. where will Italians go on holiday? 3. how will tourism change after the Coronavirus?
How much money will Italy lose because of the tourism crisis?
An initial update of the damage picture has been made by Confturismo-Confcommercio as of 4 March 2020 (source: La Stampa). According to this data, the losses, at best, will be around 120 billion euros less by 2020.
At the moment it is not possible to say precisely how much economic loss has been caused by the crisis in Italian tourism. According to a study by Assoturismo, the Coronavirus has wiped out 60 years of progress in Italian tourism. Even imagining a relatively quick resolution of the health emergency in Italy, the effect of the pandemic on the international market and on traveller confidence will lead to closing the year with a reduction of 260 million presences compared to last year (-60%) (source: La Repubblica). To give an example, Germany is historically the main country of origin of foreign tourists in Italy; in June 2020 there was an 11% drop in interest in the possibility of the German population staying in Italy (source: GoogleTrends). In addition, airline tickets purchased to come to Italy until 19 July are down 91.4% (source: Enit).
The alarming figures for tourism between March and May 2020 in Italy
Between March and May, without COVID-19, tourism would have recorded 81 million presences (i.e. 18% of the annual total), 23% of the annual presences of foreigners and 20% of the annual presences in hotel facilities. In the same quarter, foreign tourists alone spent about 9,4 billion euro (source: Istat). According to a survey by Demoskopika and Statista on tourist arrivals in Italian regions, Veneto was among the hardest hit with -4,6 million, followed by Lombardy (-3,9 million), Tuscany (-3,3 million), Lazio (-2,9 million) and Emilia Romagna (-2,5 million). Molise, Basilicata, Valle D'Aosta, Abruzzo and Calabria were less affected (source: InvestireOggi).
Where will Italians go on holiday?
30% of Italians currently say they will not go on holiday: 19% more than in 2019. Moreover, 8 out of 10 Italians (among those who will go on holiday) will stay in Italy, and just under half will choose a holiday-home where it is easier to have a garden or swimming pools and control social distancing (source: Italiani.Coop and AirBnB). Michele Ridolfo, CEO of Wonderful Italy admits: "There is a huge demand from Italian families for rental homes for next summer". As for the destination, 66% of Italians have chosen the sea, while the mountains are sought after by only 22,4%. The remaining 6% of the population prefer a holiday in a city of art. Overall, between those who have decided not to go on holiday and those who will, it is estimated that 90% of Italians will stay in Italy this summer (source: Demoskopika).
How will tourism change after the Coronavirus?
According to a study by Assoturismo, the recovery of the tourism market in Italy will not take place before the end of 2020. "Faced with such a scenario, the interventions provided by the Cura Italia decree for tourism businesses are unfortunately inconsistent," says Assoturismo president Vittorio Messina. We must also consider all the consequences of COVID-19 on the psychological and behavioral level of each individual; changes in tastes, and personal needs, and therefore their respective effects on consumption and the market as a whole. For example, a change in the perception of travel risk is expected, and therefore a need for improved protection, hygiene and safety systems. Tourism businesses will have to take into account all these behavioral variables in order to survive and adapt to new consumer demands.
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