A U.S. advisory urging Americans to reconsider travel to Italy due to a coronavirus outbreak marks the “final blow” to the nation’s tourism industry, the head of Italy’s hotel federation said Saturday.
Late Friday, the U.S. government issued a level three advisory—the second-highest level of warning—for the whole of Italy, saying that the CDC had recommended “avoiding nonessential travel,” the Associated Press reports.
Hotel and tourism cancellations in Rome hit 90%, and Venice, which was nearing recovery in the Carnival season following a tourist lull after record flooding in November, saw bookings drop immediately after regional officials–in an unprecedented move–canceled the final two days of celebrations this week.
Italy has confirmed almost 900 cases, the highest figure outside Asia. There have been 21 deaths among people with the virus.
This past week, Italian officials locked down 11 towns near Milan in northern Italy to contain the outbreak.
The government anticipates the 50,000 people in those towns will have to wait another week before the lockdown is lifted, The New York Times reports.
However, despite the alarm and travel advisories, day-to-day life in most of Italy remains unaffected, and little has changed for the majority of people living in the country, The Local reports.
Nearly 6 million Americans visit Italy every year, and they collectively spend about 5 billions euros. the hotel federation, Federalberghi, said.
“We had already registered a slowdown of Americans coming to Italy in recent days,” Federalberghi President Bernabo Bocca said in a prepared statement. “Now the final blow has arrived.”