Hundreds of Italian hoteliers have stormed the telephone lines of their federation to protest against the fact that Rome tolerates tourist travel outside the country, while banning travel within the peninsula. Due to the anti-Covid restrictions in force, “I cannot leave my town, but I can fly to the Canaries, it’s absurd” while “85% of hotels in Italy are forced to remain closed” , denounced this Monday the president of the Federation of Italian hoteliers, Federalberghi.
“Hoteliers have the impression that they are being made fun of. The rules must be followed, but they must be the same for everyone […] otherwise we kill Italian tourism, ”he said in an interview with Corriere della Sera. Asked by tour operators, the Interior Ministry said last week that travel to the airport to reach tourist destinations in Europe were authorized.
“We give our tourists a gift”
To travel abroad, “just take a Covid test on departure and return […] And other countries are benefiting from it. It seems that Spain is saying ‘come to us’ and Greece has been preparing for the summer for months, ”he continues. In Italy, “we had offered Covid tests in hotels on arrival and departure, but this was refused,” he laments.
“Without a clear indication” from the Italian authorities, “tourists go elsewhere, we give our tourists a gift abroad”, underlines the manager. The seaside resorts of Spain are thus preparing to welcome many German tourists for Easter despite the calls not to travel from the government of Angela Merkel.
Italy in “red zone” for Easter
As for Italy, the world’s fifth-largest destination, only 25.53 million foreign visitors set down their suitcases there in 2020, 60% less than in 2019. The country’s revenue from international tourism plunged to 17.45 billion euros in 2020, against 44.3 billion a year earlier, according to the Bank of Italy.
And national tourism is hampered by the measures in force due to the pandemic. Thus for the Easter period, from April 3 to 5, all of Italy will be classified as a “red zone”, at high risk, with very strong travel restrictions.