With the lockdown imposed to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, the Italian tourism sector has been heavily impacted, and the prospects for a recovery in the near future are feeble. Even as travel restrictions are slowly lifted, hesitation to travel outside national borders remains high.
State of the Art
The present project is a documentation of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the Italian tourism sector in Florence, Venice and Rome, all cities which heavily rely on tourism for their economy and has been commissioned by Cortona on the Move Festival and can be viewed on the Covid19 visual project platform, a permanent archive on the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to ENIT, Italy’s national tourism agency, airplane reservations to Italy dropped by 95.2% in June, 82.4% in July and 76.4% in August compared to the same period of 2019. Assoturismo, Italy's tourism federation, fears that the expected steep fall in visits could trigger the worst ever recorded drop in revenues of the sector. Recent reports calculate a 70% - 80% reduction in revenues, equal to about 120 billion euros. According to the Centre for Tourism Studies, Italy is now expecting 56 million fewer overnight stays. Before the health crisis, tourism was one of Italy’s fastest growing and most profitable industrial sectors, with 63 million tourists visiting each year and an estimated revenue of € 230 billions, covering about 13% of the country’s GDP and employing 14% of the national workforce. Hotels, short-term rentals, restaurants, transport, shops, tour guides and agents. These are the businesses mainly affected by the paralysis of the entire value chain. And larger cities, which depend more on tourists, are the most affected. ENIT expects to return to the 2019 rate only by 2023. However, this crisis could be an opportunity to rethink the model on which the tourism sector is based. This is the opinion of Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director, of the archeological park of Paestum. "We must focus on another type of tourism, another relationship with visitors, more intense, more 'one to one', and who knows, I think this could be a model for developing 'slow tourism' in the future".