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How the war in Ukraine has affected the European tourism industry

Bernabò Bocca, the president of the Italian hotel association Federalberghi, said he was most concerned about energy costs, which have risen sharply in Italy in recent months. “Hotels are energy-intensive businesses, they’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “The cost of energy has become a very important component, a price the whole world is paying.”

Before the pandemic, tourism accounted for about 14 percent of Italy’s GDP, according to the country’s tourism ministry, and Italy’s national tourism agency ENIT said more than 63 million foreigners traveled to Italy in 2019.

Italy’s tourism minister, Massimo Garavaglia, at a recent trade show, quoted a February survey of American travel sentiment by market research firm MMGY Global, which reported that 47 percent of 4,500 respondents would wait and see how the situation in Ukraine develops before planning to visit Europe . “It’s clear that if half of Americans don’t come to Europe, it’s going to be a drama,” he said.

However, other tour operators, large and small, remain optimistic about the upcoming season despite concerns over war and coronavirus. Last week, online travel agency Expedia announced a forecast for a strong summer in Europe, according to which US travelers looking to travel to the UK, Germany and France this summer saw a five-fold increase in search interest compared to the same period in 2020 is.

On the Costa Blanca, members of the local hospitality industry have fixed-price deals with tour operators, which should result in fewer cancellations. The biggest challenge for hotels will be managing rising costs and adapting to supply chain issues.

Magic Costa Blanca’s Mr Cuenca said he has yet to increase prices and fees at his hotels and expressed cautious optimism for the summer, having already booked about half his hotel rooms for the season. “We need to keep an eye on inflation and maybe adjust our interest rates to maintain our profit margins,” he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/01/travel/europe-tourism-ukraine-war.html How the war in Ukraine has affected the European tourism industry

Luke Plunkett

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