The Draghi government is doing well on many fronts, but does not receive unanimous support; tourism is among the sectors that do not feel an adequate change of pace, and even at the level of European institutions it does not seem that they are giving their best. Astoi Confindustria Viaggi (association of tour operators) complains about “confused and contradictory institutional directives and alarmist and out of control news, which have caused discouragement and disorientation in the population. Organized Tourism had equipped itself for a restart, albeit limited to very few countries. The requests for reservations increased, in particular towards Italy and, with the introduction of the Digital Green Pass, also towards some European countries such as Spain, Greece and Northern Europe ”. However, according to Astoi, “after only 20 days from its launch, the certificate, which was supposed to facilitate circulation on the European continent, designed to give uniqueness and homogeneity of rules and directives on the movement and behavior of European citizens, is transforming itself from an effective tool to bankruptcy operation, as many countries of the Schengen area adopt protocols that are not univocal, different from each other, generating uncertainty among travelers. The Farnesina’s alert to assess the risks of travel abroad, following the increase in cases of infections from Covid variants in some countries, has also called everything into question. Confusion and schizophrenia of information are the enemies of demand, they generate alarmism and chaos and it is therefore natural to witness, in these weeks, declining bookings and cancellations ”. Astoi notes major reservations and cancellations regarding Spain, “but the climate of psychological terrorism is also affecting Greece and especially Italy, with a serious impact on national tourism”.
On the positive side, “the important vaccination campaign launched is bearing fruit; this is why we believe – says Astoi – that it is desirable to exceed only the nominal count of Covid cases – which are mostly common among the younger population that does not develop severe symptoms – and refer only to hospitalizations, which continue to be extremely low . The goal of the vaccination campaign in Italy and Europe was precisely to immediately protect the most vulnerable people and make the virus less harmful and lethal. This is why it makes no sense to block all activities in the name of variants ”.
The Tour Operators claim to have up to now “complied with the government provisions, suspending the programs towards non-Schengen destinations which represent the heart of their business. With this persistent blockade, the tightening of rules in Europe and the arrival of cancellations, the sector is collapsing and the prospects for the next few months can only be highly worrying. The operators, due to very serious and unacceptable delays, have not yet received all the support approved for the losses suffered in the first months of 2020, a condition that is putting the system even more in crisis. Furthermore, nothing has been allocated for the second part of 2020 and for 2021, a year that will prove even more tragic than the previous one with very heavy repercussions on companies and employment. The Government cannot escape its political role and the consequent decision to urgently adopt measures, both in the context of disbursement of aid and in the definition of certain rules and directives for the resumption of tourist flows “.
Pier Ezhaya, president of Astoi comments: “We must reverse the course, otherwise we will periodically find ourselves blocking all activities in the name of the Covid variant of the moment. It is necessary that the rules of borders and flows are clear and simple, both those in Europe, which can only be homogeneous, and those for the opening of safe corridors towards countries that have implemented very intense vaccination protocols. The perceived sentiment was different compared to last year thanks to the progress of the vaccination campaign in our country and in the world; Italians have a strong desire to travel but are disoriented and scared. We ask the government to re-evaluate the alert for travel abroad, issuing simple and clear rules and recommendations. Confused and contradictory rules only weaken any attempt to restart the sector with serious economic repercussions on companies, workers and on a sector already collapsing after 16 months of crisis. We expect supplementary measures from the institutions to restore the worsening of the crisis and to be able to receive aid already approved and blocked by a bureaucracy that does not honor our country. ”