The long-range cry of alarm: we are dying!

Alessandro Simonetti

It is not true that tourism has restarted. Or at least it is only minimally so: for certain localities and national realities, at most European. Trips to non-EU destinations are still at a standstill. And they won’t pick up anytime soon. Hopefully, we will talk about it again in the autumn, but the feeling is that it will go on until the end of the year, given the impact of the Delta variant which inspires fear and casts a further shadow on the sector. This is the cry of alarm launched by over Italian tour operators specialized in long range, which have gathered in an ad hoc group to make themselves heard at ministerial level.

Bookings on Airbnb or Booking have restarted which, let’s keep this in mind, are groups that pay taxes abroad and not in Italy; therefore they leave nothing to our country! Certainly some Italian accommodation facilities are restarting; restaurants or outdoor venues are back to work and many of them are sold out for next summer. But this does not mean that tourism has recovered – he explains Alessandro Simonetti, owner of World Explorer and among the numerous names of the group that, day by day, is expanding -. The tourism sector will seriously resume billing when organized and intermediated trips return, certainly not in the face of the current do-it-yourself. It is 16 months, from 11 March 2020 to be precise, that we have not worked or made a practice. And it is good to explain this clearly ”.

Those who are going to the Maldives, Mexico or the Caribbean are doing so today in contravention of the ministerial provisions, risking on his own and remaining absolutely out of the current legislation. The trips allowed are only those made within the EU, towards the States party to the Schengen agreement, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, then again Andorra and the Principality of Monaco and Israel. To these, we add a number of countries in band D: Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand Canada, United States of America Australia, New Zealand. It being understood that most of these are still closed to tourist flows, such as Australia or the USA.

Those who leave for tourism to long-range destinations do so by evading the law, relying on the very large and often non-existent meshes of airport controls. But these are risks that operators cannot and do not want to take. “We are rejecting important practices precisely to comply with the provisions that come from the Ministry of Health and the Interior, but now we have reached the end”, confirms Simonetti. We are talking about realities with turnover ranging from one million to 10 million euros a year in the pre-Covid era: not small but still not big enough to sustain this shock for much longer. And that today, if it is really not possible to have a calendar or provisions regulating the reopening of borders, they would at least like the Italian government to align itself with other European countries in terms of travel outside the EU.

“By continuing the ban on leaving the European Union for tourism, our customers it is unlikely that they will be able to use vouchers by the expiry date – he adds Emanuela Paoletti by Insafari -. Therefore within a few months we will have to start repaying them, even without having received compensation from local suppliers. With the results obtained from the first recoveries we have so far guaranteed the survival of our companies. Those of us who have managed to advance something will have to use it to start compensating customers. ORWe have not received a salary for more than a year and we had to keep our staff at home. We cannot continue like this. So, in light of the fact that the government’s position on the borders that will not be reopened soon is now clear, we are asking loudly and firmly for new funds to be made available to the sector in support of the category so that we can continue to live. Those who are joining our group of operators are spokespersons for hundreds of other realities similar to ours, who have not worked for 16 months now and are on the edge of the abyss. Even because many have not yet received the funds relating to February-July 2020. I state, we want to go back to work and not have help forever. But, since we can’t do it yet, we just have to ask for help, because at risk there are thousands of jobs in a sector that has absolutely not broken down! Let’s be clear and honest on this point! ”.