In France, the situation is again considered “catastrophic” for tourism and the HoReCa sector, after Health Minister Olivier Véran announced on Wednesday not only the reduction of opening hours and the lowering of the blinds of cafes and restaurants at 22.00, but even their total closure, for the time being, in big cities in the south like Marseille. 11 metropolises, including Paris, have been placed on “high alert”. This mainly involves closing the bars at 22.00, as well as limiting public gatherings to 1,000 people, compared to 5,000 at present.
In Britain, where everything also closes at 10pm, Boris Johnson has warned that he will take out the army to enforce quarantine rules, and that he is doing so as a threat, and not in the sense that in Spain, the Madrid administration he asked for the help of the army because he could no longer cope. “In England we have more cases of contamination than in Italy, because in our country people love freedom,” said the British prime minister. “Financial Times” praises the Italian crisis management, compared to what is happening in the UK. But Spain is also facing an exodus of doctors going abroad because of working conditions. In addition, Spain missed the possibility of aid for the tourism sector from the European Commission, as this aid was simply not requested.
The “Financial Times” praises the Italian crisis management, compared to what is happening in Great Britain, Spain or France. Wearing a mask has become mandatory 24 hours a day in the historic center of Genoa, the largest port in northern Italy, to fight the rise in COVID-19 cases, local authorities said on Wednesday, writes AFP. The city center registered 63 new cases in 24 hours, forcing the Liguria region, in agreement with the mayor’s office and the sanitary authorities, to take preventive measures that immediately entered into force for an indefinite period.
According to the ordinance adopted by the region, the mask became mandatory on the outside and regardless of the distance between people. “We are facing a potential source of contamination in the historic center. We have therefore decided to take precautions “, said the president of the region, Giovanni Toti, and the mayor Marco Bucci. The goal “is to eliminate the potential outbreak,” they added. Like its European neighbors, Italy is facing a resurgence of coronavirus contamination, but on a smaller scale than in countries such as France and Spain. 1,640 new cases were registered in the peninsula in 24 hours, compared to 10,799 in Spain and 13,072 in France.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on the Italian tourism industry could reach 100 billion euros ($ 118 billion) this year, well above previous estimates, according to studies by tourism groups Confiturismo and Assoturismo, Xinhua reports. .
The amount represents over 6% of Italy’s GDP at the end of last year. According to the United Nations, Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world, and tourism is responsible for about 13% of Gross Domestic Product. If the figure of 100 billion euros is confirmed, the contribution of tourism to GDP will halve, analysts say.
According to studies published by Confiturismo and Assoturismo, the number of visitors to Italy will decrease by 65 million in June-August alone.
“At the end of March, we hypothesized that the tourism sector would lose 100 billion euros this year, and at that time it seemed an overly dramatic vision. But, with each passing day, we are getting closer and closer to this figure becoming reality “, explained Luca Patane, president of Confiturismo.
The World Tourism Council recently estimated that the Italian tourism industry could lose 36.7 billion euros this year.
Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, is expected to fall 11.2% this year, the European Commission recently forecast. It would be the most severe decline among the 27 EU member states
The representatives of Confiturismo and Assoturismo claim that without government aid the tourism sector could suffer irrecoverable damages, given that, this summer, domestic tourism increased by 1.1%, but the arrivals of foreign tourists decreased by 66%.
The Madrid authorities also announced that, following restrictions and quarantine imposed in many countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Spain will end the January-August period with about 40 million foreign tourists less than the previous year, which would be spent in the country about 50 billion euros.
The fear of tourists not to become infected is another reason that explains the drastic decrease in international travel, which has been replaced by national holidays, although in the case of Spain they do not compensate much for the massive reduction in income due to the absence of foreigners.
The Madrid government recently announced it would allocate 2.5 billion euros to support tourism, expanding efforts to protect key sectors of the economy. Spain is the second most visited country in the world, after France, and tourism is crucial for the economy, contributing about 12% to Gross Domestic Product.
Belgium on Wednesday announced the easing of measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic, although the number of cases is increasing, informs Reuters. It will no longer be mandatory to wear masks in open spaces, and the period of self-isolation of those who have come into contact with infected people will be reduced to seven days. Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes, who announced the measures at a news conference, said the voluntary quarantine period would be reduced from October 1, and masks would continue to be mandatory in shops, cinemas, public transportation and busy streets. .
“Wearing a mask is very important in managing the epidemic. However, there is no point in imposing it everywhere, all the time, “she said. Until now, masks were mandatory in the open air in Brussels and a few other cities. In the last week, there has been a daily average of 1,374 new cases in Belgium, with a population of 11 million. At the beginning of July, only 80 cases per day were reported. In all, nearly 10,000 people died of COVID-19, one of the worst in the world, in terms of population. Belgians will still have access to events with 200 participants indoors or 400 outdoors and will be able to meet in groups of up to six people without distance measures.
Tourists in Austria’s winter resorts will not be able to hold parties next season, a measure put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save the vital tourism industry, the Austrian government said on Thursday.
Austrian businessmen and politicians have expressed concern in recent days after a growing number of European countries issued travel warnings not only for the city of Vienna but also for the alpine regions of Austria due to the increasing number of infections with the new coronavirus.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said tourists will be able to ski, dine at the restaurant and attend cultural events during the cold season.
“But after skiing, as we know, it will not be possible,” he added, referring to the parties that, in many resorts, are organized every night after the slopes close.
Indoor bars as well as outdoor bars will be able to serve food and drinks for guests sitting at tables.
In addition, restaurants and bars will be closed locally at 10:00 PM (21:00 GMT) in the mountainous regions of Austria.
Tourism and leisure activities account for 15% of Austria’s economy.
The Austrian government has been criticized for organizing the previous ski season, when hundreds of tourists from Europe contracted the new coronavirus in the popular resort of Ischgl, known for its lush parties.
A consumer rights lawyer sued the Austrian government on Tuesday on behalf of three infected tourists in Ischgl and on behalf of the family of a deceased COVID-19 patient.
Also on Thursday, Austria issued travel warnings for citizens traveling to Prague and several French regions, including Paris and the Cote d’Azur, removing an earlier alert on Sweden, the foreign ministry said, according to Reuters.
Alerts have also been issued for Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Israel, Kuwait and the Maldives, while the warning for Portugal has been reduced to Lisbon and the Norte region, the ministry said in a statement. All these changes will take effect on Monday.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced a 65% reduction in the number of international arrivals in the first half of 2020, which means a loss of 460 billion euros for the travel industry worldwide, AFP and Reuters report.
Revenues lost in the first six months of this year “are about five times higher than the overall revenues from tourism recorded during the financial crisis of 2009,” the Madrid-based institution estimated.
International arrivals fell by 440 million between January and June 2020, or 65%, the most severe decline being in Asia, the first region to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19).
In the first half of 2020, tourist arrivals fell by 72% in Asia, by 66% in Europe, by 57% in Africa and the Middle East and by 55% in North and South America.
“It’s an unprecedented decline, as countries around the world have closed their borders and introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic.” While tourists are slowly returning to some destinations, “reduced demand for travel and consumer confidence” will continue to affect tourism for the rest of the year, the UNWTO report said.
The institution estimates that the number of arrivals of foreign visitors will decrease by about 70% in 2020, due to the effects of the pandemic. It will take two to four years for tourist arrivals to return to last year’s level, as more than half of the destinations have relaxed travel restrictions by early September. In 2019, the number of foreign tourist arrivals rose by 4% to 1.5 billion, with the most visited countries in the world being France, Spain and the USA.
“Safe and responsible international travel is now possible in many parts of the world, and it is essential that authorities work with the private sector to get global tourism moving again,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.