Coronavirus has been deadly but the effects of media-induced hysteria surrounding it, has been more devastating to the tourism sector of the Italian economy.
ROME, RM, ITALY, February 29, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — ROME — Information is critical to a free society but misinformation, when spread rapidly, can also have dire consequences. The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been deadly but the effects of media-induced hysteria surrounding it, in some respects, has been even more devastating – especially to the tourism sector which is vital to the Italian economy. However, the fact remains, Rome, as a destination, is safe and remains open for business.
Rome mayor Virginia Raggi and Lazio Region president Nicola Zingaretti have both stressed the fact that there is no Coronavirus emergency in the capital city of Italy. Yet the sharp rise in tourist cancellations and drop in bookings has occurred – despite the fact that there is no Coronavirus emergency in Rome according to Raggi.
While the Coronavirus virus has mainly been concentrated in the north near Milan, it’s Rome's tourist industry that has suffered the most.
“This is the first time in the 30-years since I have been in the travel industry, where Americans have canceled tours like this because of fear from a virus. Yet the rest of the world, while in lesser quantities, still continues to book tours here for the upcoming season,” says, Therese Billman, manager, Romaround Tours.
Bookings are also down 60-70 percent in March and April with bookings "sharply down" up to June, according to trade associations Assoturismo Confesercenti Roma e Lazio and Fiavet Lazio
Roberto Paolini, tour guide with Rome Live Tours, says, “We have seen a decline in American tourists as of the last week here at the Coloseo but it’s Rome … people are resilient – they are still enjoying their wine and food in outdoor cafes and restaurants and enjoying our beautiful, historic city as always.”
However, the effect of cancelled hotel reservations, coupled with numerous cancelled events, has so far led to the loss of €1.5 billion to the tourism sector in Rome and Lazio, according to Stefano Fiori, president of the tourism section of Unindustria, quoted in Corriere della Sera.
“Some US-based news reporting has been misleading regarding the Coronavirus in Rome and that has caused confusion – which has led to would-be tourists canceling their travel plans. Rome now has zero active Coronavirus cases and of the three mild cases confirmed, all have fully recovered. It’s time for potential visitors to be assured that Rome is safe and still a great place to visit today,” says Scott Spinucci, a media communications veteran of the United States, and now a spokesman for Rome-based 7 Hills Tours.
Italian economic minister, Dario Franceschini, announced today that he is hopeful domestic tourism will resume and will work to return international tourism flow (to seasonal norms).
According to data reported by 2019, travel and tourism contributed 237.8 billion euros to the Italian gross domestic product (GDP).
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Source: EIN Presswire