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‘If we get 35% of normal takings, it’ll be a success’

‘If we get 35% of normal takings, it’ll be a success’: Popular European holiday destinations – and British travel agents – face dire finances after being starved of tourists during crisis

  • One mayor said businesses would be happy with just a third of normal takings 
  • Typically thriving coastal resorts in Europe have been starved of tourism in crisis 
  • Italy’s tourist footfall has nosedived almost 80 per cent and Greece 75 per cent 

Hotels and restaurants in popular European holiday destinations are braced for bleak balance sheets this year as tourists remain squeamish about travelling abroad.  

One mayor of a village on the Amalfi coast usually brimming with summer tourists said that businesses would be happy to claw in just a third of normal earnings.

Michele De Lucia, mayor of Positano, told La Stampa newspaper: ‘If takings from tourism reach 35 per cent compared with normal, we will consider that a success. Without foreign tourists, it’s really tough.’ 

His gloomy outlook reflects the wider situation across the continent, with typically thriving coastal resorts in Spain, Italy and Greece starved of bookings during the crisis.  

Eerily quiet beaches and promenades in San Antonio on Ibiza, usually flooded with tourists in summer 

The gradual easing of national lockdowns offered a glimmer of hope that their holiday season could be salvaged.

But an unshakable reluctance of many to fly overseas has left beaches eerily quiet and hotel rooms empty. 

Italy’s tourist footfall has nosedived almost 80 per cent, sending alarm bells ringing in the country which credits tourism for 13 per cent of its GDP.

The tourism drought is partially being offset by a surge in Italians looking closer to home for summer holidays.

Yet there is still a gulf in typical business takings as Italians tend not to spend as much as overseas visitors.

‘The problem is that Italians do not have the same spending habits as foreigners,’ said one industry representative.

British citizens arrive at the Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport after the UK imposed a quarantine on all travellers from Spain

British citizens arrive at the Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport after the UK imposed a quarantine on all travellers from Spain

Spain’s tourism sector is also reeling from the decision by the UK government to impose quarantine on all arrivals returning to Britain.

Ministers revoked the air corridor with Spain after growing increasingly concerned at the country’s resurgence in coronavirus cases, meaning travellers will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon landing in the UK.

Toni Mayor, president of the Benidorm and Costa Blanca hotel association Hosbec, described the shock UK move as a ‘hammer blow.’

He said: ‘It couldn’t have come at a worse time. It was looking pretty good from August 1.

‘Bookings were up including family bookings and around 85 per cent of our hotels were going to be open and we were looking forward to having at least something of a normal summer.

‘This announcement is going to bring everything crashing down.’

MailOnline understands there is a ‘live discussion’ to cut this period to 10 days to persuade nervous holidaymakers to press ahead with their bookings and not cancel. 

The economic shocks of the pandemic continue to tremor across the mainland, with Portugal’s tourism industry also on the brink. 

The Algarve, the jewel of the country’s coastline that usually attracts two million British holidaymakers, has this year only seen 91,000 UK tourists, according to the Daily Telegraph.

And even Greece, which has largely stamped out Covid-19, has been shunned by tourists is only pulling in a quarter of its average summer footfall.