'Disastrous' year for Italian tourism

Florence_Tuscany_Italy_322092282.jpgSeptember 2 – (ROMEAFP)

Italian tourism revenue is set to drop 18 percent this year compared with 2008 because of the global economic crisis, consumer groups said on Tuesday, calling the situation “disastrous”.

The Italian tourism sector will see revenue of only around 16.5 billion euros (23.5 billion dollars) in 2009, down from 20 billion in 2008, a study by the Federconsumatori and Adusbef associations said.

Only 43 percent of Italians, or 26 million people, took summer holidays this year, preferring to stay at home or with friends and family as the crisis bites. Hotel occupancy is down seven percent, the associations said.

“This situation… shows that Italian families are living in a situation of serious crisis,” the associations said, calling on the government to help families most in need.

The average amount of money spent by an Italian on holiday this year dropped from 900 to 700 euros, they said.

The government foresees a shrinkage of the Italian economy by 5.2 percent this year ahead of a 0.5 percent rebound in 2010.

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