Samuel Dorsi - Dec 20, 2020
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The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on the tourism industry globally. This is especially the case for countries which are more dependent on the sector than others, for example, Italy. The country is now counting its losses for the year as well as predicting how 2021 will unfold.

Italian tourism has struggled greatly this year and was struck severely by the pandemic. The year will be closed with 53 billion euros less in turnover in contrast with 2019. The main reason for this development is the drastic reduction of international tourism.

2021 to Continue in Similar Fashion

2021 also promises to be a problematic year. At least this is what the analysis developed by Isnart-Unioncamere indicates.

According to the report, a loss of 7.9 billion euros for the first quarter of next year is expected compared to the turnover from 2019. The data was elaborated assuming a scenario in which Covid-19 will continue to impose strong restrictions both nationally and internationally.

Thus, between January and March 2021 there will be a 60% reduction in domestic tourism in the country and a fall of 85% in terms of international arrivals.

Moreover, next year will also continue with similar trends. Between July and October 2020, a fifth of consumers worldwide declared that they wanted to give up international travel, citing among the reasons that they want to reduce the environmental impact.

Furthermore, last summer as many as 81% Italians chose destinations based on safety criteria and sporting activity was the main reason for their vacation. These trends are destined to persist over time, strongly influencing the destination choices.

What Now?

But what now for Italian tourism? According to Roberto Di Vincenzo, President of Isnart, it is essential to rethink the organizational model of the sector.

In this context, he stressed the importance of developing forms of tourism-oriented to the production of value, improving the quality of offers and increasing the number of services provided by individual operators and regions.

Quick and Impetuous Recovery

In the meantime, Italy’s Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Dario Franceschini sees the situation in a more optimistic light.

“After the health emergency, Italian tourism will return very quickly, it will return impetuously and with those enormous growth rates that we have known in recent years. Foreigners, who accounted for 50% of tourists in Italy in 2019, will return soon,” he said.

The Minister highlighted that an underlying strategy will be necessary for a successful recovery. “When international tourism returns, we will suddenly find ourselves facing excessive growth, having to deal with the issue of crowds and entry tickets,” Franceschini added.

“The five-year plan we had was interrupted by Covid and we need to make a new one in light of what has happened. With the help of the Recovery Fund and with shared strategies we have to distribute tourism throughout the country,” he continued.

Finally, Franceschini noted the importance of changing the promotion of the Italian tourism sector after the crisis comes to an end.

“It should no longer be ‘Come and See Italy’ because it is already the most popular travel destination in the world, but we must make it attractive from the point of view of hospitality and safety,” the Minister noted.

“In the future, people will go to a country if they know it is safe, if it has good welfare and good healthcare, also because tourism is getting ‘older’, and we still have to work a lot on this. We must therefore use this time to govern the impetuous growth that will take place as soon as the pandemic is over,” Franceschini concluded.

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