Despite the warnings about corona virus being widespread in Europe, tourism activities on this continent have not had too many big changes.
Information that 11 towns in Italy are being cordoned off and countries such as Austria and Croatia announce the first cases of virus infection show that the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic is more felt globally. “If previously thought the corona virus was in China or Asia, then the development problem this week will cause this to happen,” said Nick Wyatt, head of R&A Travel and Travel at global data analysis firm GlobalData. we have to change the way we see it. ”
According to The Guardian , the European tourism industry needs to be ready for the tough steps when the corona virus spreads.
Tourism in the heart of Italy is affected like?
In Italy, 17 people died from the corona virus, with 650 confirmed cases as of February 28. Northern regions of this country Bologna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna are suspending public events, closing museums and other cultural festivals until March 1.
The Venice Carnaval Festival was halted on February 23, Milan Fashion Week canceled some events, 40 football matches were postponed and dozens of church activities, tours and opera performances.
In Venice, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, which is often crowded with visitors, is now deserted and quiet. Local hotels and tourism businesses worry about being affected. “The city is more comfortable without crowds but that affects the economy,” said Giacomo Cosua, a photojournalist based in Venice.
Ted Wake, executive director of Kirker Holidays, said it was too early to say whether the epidemic would have a long-term impact. “It’s hard to predict. The peak travel time is April (around 5-6 weeks). A lot of things can change during that time,” he said.
Wake predicts that hotels with fewer bookings (due to the decline in Chinese tourists) will begin to offer promotions to travelers: “This week is not the time to offer deals for later this year but I think we will start to see very good prices from hotels. ”
Call for cooperation in the whole European tourism industry
Europe has begun to feel the influence of having few tourists from China – the most important source of domestic tourism in this old continent. According to travel analysis firm Forward Keys, visitors from China to Europe decreased by 41.7% in 3 weeks after the travel restrictions.
Based on measured information from the British Department of Foreign Affairs (FCO), World Health Organization (WHO) and other health organizations, tourism agencies are calling for industry-wide cooperation in Europe. .
At a press conference on February 26 in Rome, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the committee welcomed the maintenance of open borders across the EU, instead of using inadequate and ineffective measures. fruit. “This is a worrying situation but we must not give in to panic and be alert for false information,” she said.
In addition to Italy, in other countries in Europe, some guests are also isolated or restricted from moving because of possible contact with people who have tested positive for corona virus.
At the hotel in Tenerife (Spain), guests are suggested to stay in the room, after an Italian doctor and a guest here tested positive. Another hotel in Innsbruck (Austria) was also blockaded by an infected Italian receptionist. There was also one confirmed case in Greece and three in France. Other European destinations have no travel restrictions.
About European domestic airlines
Most airlines with flights in Europe claim that they still operate the routes as usual, with no cancellation or change required, at no cost. This announcement includes flights to Northern Italy by BA, Ryanair and easyJet.
However, BA said on February 27, it had canceled some flights to and from Milan Linate Airport (Italy) due to a reduction in the number of passengers traveling in the area. WizzAir also announced that it will adjust its schedule to Italy due to reduced demand. The airline will cancel 60% of flights to Italy from all over Europe between March 11 and April 2.
Trips still depart with more questions
Most tour operators say normal booking conditions still apply if people want to cancel future trips in Europe, although this may vary depending on the situation. Currently, a number of travel agency reports show that the number of new bookings in Europe has decreased.
Derek Moore, president of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (Aito), said: “No one knows whether corona virus will soon be under control, so for now we can only Most of Aito’s tour operators with directly-affected destinations still operate on a 3-week plan: they do not even attempt to cancel or modify any departures booked more than 3 week”.
Although tourism still takes place, tour operators receive a series of feedback from customers about new trips and have booked in Europe, they are more interested and question the disease.
“So far, all we have seen is a small number of customers asking for clarification and cancellation policy if things change. At the moment, we haven’t encountered any adverse effects. for booking, “said Sam Bruce co-founder of Much Better Adventures (UK).
Similarly, Intrepid Travel (UK) had no impact on bookings at European destinations, said CEO Robyn Nixon: “Our trips to Italy and other parts of Europe Europe is operating normally because it does not visit the areas listed under the recent advice of the FCO.The usual booking conditions apply to travelers who want to cancel or change their departure points to destinations. to outside of China. We acknowledge an increase in questions from customers seeking information and guidance. ”
Peter Sommer, who runs the cultural tours in Europe, said he only received one cancellation, and customers with upcoming trips remained calm and in good spirits.