General sentiment regarding the impact of Covid-19 in Italy is gradually becoming more positive. From GlobalData’s week 1 survey to its week six survey, the percentage of Italian respondents stating that they are ‘extremely concerned’ about the virus dropped by 14%.
Under the current pandemic travel restrictions, inbound travellers can enter Italy for as long as five days but only for work reasons, then they must leave. Transport Minister Paola De Micheli told the foreign press association in Rome on Monday that when that restriction can be lifted depends on how coronavirus infection rates are growing, or decreasing in other nations. De Micheli went on to state that tourists from abroad will not have to go into quarantine once they are able to visit again. This is positive news for the Italian tourism sector.
Italy’s tourism sector, and its wider economy, needs its borders open to its most valuable source markets, especially to Germany, which provided 12.7 million visitors to the country in 2019. Tourism is responsible for 13% of the nation’s GDP and it lost $1.2bn between March and April after the country was severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Italy has already lost some of its most valuable months because one of the most valuable aspects of tourism for the nation is the inbound and domestic flow of tourists going for cultural trips to cities. This is done mostly from March to May, and then from September to October. This is supported by figures from GlobalData, which show that from March to April in 2019, domestic and outbound trips in Italy jumped by 4.5 million.
However, this announcement will be met with some scepticism from Italian citizens. Letting visitors from a range of source markets into the country does increase the chance of a second spike in its national infection rate. Italians will be wary of this and it could increase the likelihood of an increased level of tension between international tourists and Italy’s host community.
Although Italian respondents’ worries regarding the impact of Covid-19 are lessening, Italy is still coming to terms with its experience in what had been Europe’s longest lockdown. As the nation gradually opens its borders up to more markets, apprehension is likely to increase as many citizens will not want to face a second lockdown. However, the Italian Government is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The nation’s economy cannot continue on its path of rapid decline and restarting its tourism sector is seen as a key place to start an economic reboot.