Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018

Italian vacationers feel squeeze, so does industry


(By Kate Carlisle)
Rome, June 10 - Holiday fun for Italians in and
out of the country is buckling under the heavy yoke of the
country's continuing economic crisis, said several reports
released on Monday.
Foreign tourist spending in Italy took a drop in March,
down 3.2% to some five million euros, a report by the Bank of
Italy said on Monday.
Travellers from European Union countries dished out 8.2%
less while non-Europeans spent slightly more, 3.2%, than the
previous year.
Italians abroad in general spent approximately 3.9 million
euros, down 5.1% compared to the same time last year.
Specifically, Italian tourists in EU countries spent 9%
less and those in non-EU countries 1.9% less.
Overall, Italy's balance of payments for tourism was in the
red in March compared to the previous year, down to 513 million
euros in respect to 561 million euros during the same time
period 2012.
Some two-thirds of Italians will be giving up the
traditional summer holiday as the country's longest recession in
20 years drags on, consumer association Federconsumatori said on
According to the association's report, only 32%, or 19.2
million Italians, will take off for a week or more.
The same crisis that is causing Italians to cut back on
vacation time has people looking more towards low-cost options
like house swaps, low-season holidays and staying with friends
or family to save hotel expenses.
Prices that have remained at previous year's levels are not
enough to help raise tourism figures, the report said.
"A sector as vital as tourism is an opportunity for an
economic turnaround," the report said.
"That is why it is urgent to kick off an economic revival
with targeted actions, to strengthen the purchasing power of
families by not raising the VAT and to resume investments in
modernization and improvement of quality standards in the
tourism sector," the report said.
The country's VAT is set to rise in July by one percent,
however Premier Enrico Letta's government has said it will try
to avoid raising the tax.
The decline in Italians leaving town on their valued days
off has been long-running.
In April, fewer Italians took advantage of the long weekend
for the national holiday marking the Italian WWII Liberation Day
on the 25th, hoteliers' association Federalberghi noted.
Only a little more than 4 million Italians travelled,
approximately 11% less than in 2012, for the bank holiday that
is traditionally used to get away for a short vacation,
Federalberghi President Bernabo' Bocca said in April.
That means that approximately 56 million Italians stayed at
home, causing a drop in spending somewhere in the area of 12.5%
compared to 2012 to 1.4 billion euros, sounding another "alarm
bell for the tourism industry," Bocca said.

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