Over the last two years, Italy’s huge tourism sector has been a study in contrasts: first, too many tourists crowding the country’s most popular spots, and then, almost none at all. Now, Italy’s tourism is seeking to strike the right balance between the two extremes.
Before the pandemic hit Italy, the big worry about tourism was over-crowding, its impact on infrastructure, the environment, and the quality of life of residents getting affected from millions of tourists clustering in a handful of locations like Florence, Rome and Venice.
Then, with the pandemic, tourism virtually came to standstill amid corona virus lockdowns and travel restrictions. The tourism sector, which was responsible for fetching 236.4 billion Euros (280.6 billion U.S. dollars) in spending in 2019 before the pandemic, produced just 115.8 billion Euros last year.
As per estimates, the sector is not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until late 2023 or early 2024. “The goal is to reform the sector so that it offers a higher and more personalized level of service, and options that are less centralized than before,” said Gianfranco Lorenzo, head of the research department for Florence’s Center for Turistic Studies (CST-Firenze).
“Italy should de-emphasize the reliance on big tour busses that all pull into parking lots and overwhelm a small town for a few hours, (but promote) more high-quality tourism that shows visitors the country’s marvels beyond the few dozen places everyone knows about,” added Lorenzo.
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