Southern Europe Opens Its Doors to Tourists. Not Many Are Coming.


ADEJE, Spain — Music blared from a beachfront cafe alongside the usually bustling southwestern coast of Tenerife, the biggest of Spain’s Canary Islands. But a number of tables sat empty, a month after a Covid-19 lockdown had ended, and the doorways to many resorts remained shut.

Though tourism is returning to southern Europe — stretching from Portugal to Greece — its restart has been sluggish amid new outbreaks in some nations. Bookings are down 80 % in Italy regardless of authorities incentives. Ferries to the Greek islands are carrying effectively below half the load they as soon as did.

While Europeans are beginning to journey extra inside their very own nations, far fewer are venturing past their borders, notably the vacation makers from Britain, Germany and different northern nations who sometimes journey south annually, spending billions of euros.

And guests from outdoors the continent are few and much between: Just 13 nations are on the record of these thought of protected by the European Union, an inventory that thus far excludes the United States.

Outbreaks have also occurred around major tourism hubs like Barcelona, where about three million residents were told on Friday to stay indoors to help contain the coronavirus.

Carlos García Pastor, the marketing director of Logitravel Group, a Spanish travel operator that had revenue of about €800 million last year, said that his company expected earnings to drop at least 50 percent this year.

The final result, he said, “will really depend on how many new outbreaks there are.”

This month, hundreds of thousands of Spaniards were placed back under temporary lockdown by the regional authorities in Catalonia and Galicia after new outbreaks. Mr. García Pastor said some clients canceled their bookings as soon as they heard about the new restrictions.

“Tourism is extremely reactive, for better or worse,” he said.

But as the virus rampaged across mainland Spain, the islands quickly brought their own outbreaks under control. The archipelago has reported 162 deaths, according to the latest official Spanish data, out of 28,420 victims nationwide.

Travel within the Canary archipelago has continued, perhaps even encouraged a bit by the travel hurdles. Smaller islands like El Hierro that do not have an international airport have reported an influx of Canarians this summer.

But across the islands the doors remain shut to many of the large resorts normally filled by international package tours. At the recently reopened Adeje Palace, some guests said they had been relocated there at the last minute by their travel agents because the hotels they had booked were still closed.

“A week before leaving Germany, I wasn’t sure that this vacation could actually go ahead, but I had reached the point where I desperately needed time away from my hospital work and no longer really cared about which hotel I would stay in,” said Svetlana Arsenijevic, an anesthetist from the German city of Halle.

A Swiss tourist, Anaïs Zufferey, said that she and her sister not only had to switch hotels at the last minute, they also had to set off from Zurich a day later than planned because their initial flight was canceled.

“It’s a holiday that has required us to be very flexible,” Ms. Zufferey said.

But their journey from Tenerife’s airport to their hotel was more than comfortable — they were the only passengers on a 50-seat shuttle bus.

Elisabetta Povoledo contributed reporting from Rome, and Niki Kitsantonis from Athens.



Source link Nytimes.com

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