Published on : Friday, March 6, 2020
Reports say that the corona virus outbreak is creating a huge setback for the $1.7 trillion tourism industry of Italy, the biggest one for the travel sector in almost 20 years.
International tourism generated $1.7 trillion in revenue in 2018, according to the UNWTO. Hotels in Italy said that more than 50 percent of reservations were canceled in three days last week. Italy has the biggest outbreak of the virus outside of Asia.
“We had our ups and downs in the past, but nothing like this,” said Roberto Cassani, 58, president of the Como hotel operators’ association. “American tourists, in particular, seem to be victims of a collective psychosis. I am really worried,” Cassani added.
The corona virus could cost the travel industry around $47 billion per month, according to the Global Business Travel Association. The International Air Transport Association anticipates a loss of around $30 billion in lost flight sales.
“We aren’t capable of saying how long the situation will last,” said Ana de Pro, chief financial officer of online booking software Amadeus.
The spread of the virus has been slowing down in China but is increasing elsewhere. South Korea and Italy have reported more than 8,000 cases altogether.
Business travel is also declining with companies like Facebook and Google organizing webcasts as a substitute for in-person meetings. L’Oreal SA, Nestle SA and Cargill Inc. have canceled global travel in the coming weeks and trade fairs in Berlin, Geneva and Barcelona were canceled along with Hawaii’s Festpac cultural festival.