The longed-for holidays for thousands of Italians will remain so. The summer of 2021, which it was hoped could be remembered as that of the post-pandemic recovery, will instead be a season in the balance for the tourism sector.
The Delta variant is inclement with the Italian holiday resorts and the virus has returned to what must have been the Covid-free islands. New clusters have been registered in Ponza, Versilia, Circeo, the Romagna Riviera, Salento, without sparing Sardinia and Sicily and in some cases the stakes have returned to try to stem the infections: with the obligation of an outdoor mask.
In this climate of uncertainty, Italians have rescheduled downwards, postponing the choice of where to go or even canceling reservations. A considerable economic damage for the macrocosm that orbits tourism, already heavily penalized by the absence of foreign vacationers. This is what emerges from the Confturismo-Confcommercio and Swg Observatory on the confidence of Italian travelers for the month of July. It emerges that the Italians ready to leave are 17 million, but 34 per cent (5.8 million) declare that they have already canceled at least one of the previously made tourist service bookings and of the remaining 66 per cent, almost a third, are ready to cancel if the epidemiological indices worsen further. In summary, if already this year 8 million summer vacationers were missing compared to the numbers of Italians before the pandemic, now potentially another 8 million fewer are added.
And if on the one hand June was dramatic, on the other July it closes well below expectations, with 9 per cent of the interviewees who chose this month to leave but only for 3 to 7 days and only 13% for holidays of over a week.
Even in August, those who “flee” for more than 7 days go from 33 to 28 per cent, while September will be the month for short breaks, of two or more nights. Compared to what emerged in May, therefore, the Italians are postponing departure forecasts and shortening the length of the journeys. This is the effect of the “Delta variant”, which is more disturbing than the new rules for obtaining the digital green certificate, on which 79 per cent of respondents agree (the survey closed on 20 July, therefore 3 days before the release of the relative decree).
Foreign destinations are a real mirage and they are the ones to suffer the most, even if the hard core is represented by Spain, Greece and France. Nine out of ten Italians opt for domestic holidays, the highest value ever recorded in 5 years of surveys. Puglia, Sicily and Tuscany are on the podium of choices, together with the classic destinations of Veneto, Emilia Romagna and Liguria. Sea, therefore, at least for 60% of Italians. But the islands, which hopefully managed to be Covid free, are not. On the contrary.
In Pantelleria 93 people tested positive for the virus. “Of these – said the mayor Vincenzo Campo in a live Facebook – only 7 were vaccinated. We think we have limited the outbreak born, probably, by boys from Pantelleria who have returned to the island ».
Cluster also in Salto di Fondi, where a campsite has been declared a yellow zone. Finally, in Stromboli, the infections in a week rose to 14 and in Salina a boy tested positive and a dozen people who had come into contact with him ended up in quarantine.