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How Has COVID-19 Changed Italians Travel Habits?

Italians are staying closer to home, but will it make any impact on the tourism economy?

In many areas of Italy, the economy survives on tourism. From cruise ships to solo travelers, millions of visitors flock to the country, especially during the summer months. 

During these times of high visitation, many Italian locals flee to other parts of Europe to escape the crowds and experience the culture of other places. 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has delivered an unexpected sucker-punch to the tourism industry, particularly in Italy. Where there were once crowds of people wandering the streets, there are now only clusters of mask clad visitors exploring the historic sites. However, many of these travelers happen to be Italians. 

According to an April 2020 survey conducted by Statista, about 34% of citizens said they planned to take more domestic trips. 24% said they will opt to explore areas closer to home, combined with 13% who said they will not travel farther than 3 hours away. 

Meanwhile, 17% said they will take cheaper holidays and will use promotions to book their vacations. This is followed up by the 16% who said they will be taking fewer trips overall. 

Overall, 96% of the population spent their vacations close to home as opposed to last year’s rate of 86%.

Many Italian locals are taking the opportunity to explore the normally crowded attractions in cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence. They are enjoying shorter wait times, quieter dining experiences, and an overall more pleasant experience. The locals are enjoying this moment of freedom, but they are also aware of the high cost the rest of the industry is paying. 

These local visitors have provided vital income, but the country’s tourism industry still stands to lose almost $40 billion dollars because of the pandemic.

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