Most Italians want American tourists to stay away this summer: poll

Nearly two-thirds of people in Italy don't want US tourists returning this summer, according to a new poll.

Most Italians want American tourists to stay away this summer: poll
The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy's most popular destinations for American visitors. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Even if the rules were changed to allow Americans to return without a quarantine, 61 percent of respondents in Italy told market research firm YouGov that they would oppose tourism resuming from the US.

That makes Americans less welcome in Italy this year than Chinese tourists (57 percent against), Brits (44 percent opposed), or visitors from other European countries.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Should people avoid travel to Italy this summer?

Similar patterns were seen in France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Overall between 61-79 percent of people surveyed in each country opposed allowing American tourists back in this summer, compared to 57-77 percent for tourists from China.

Graphic by YouGov based on interviews conducted between June 29-July 5th 2020. 

Meanwhile only 17 percent of American respondents said they'd be willing to consider a vacation in Italy this summer, roughly the same percentage that said they'd travel to France, Spain or Germany.

Americans were more open to a trip to Sweden or the UK (both 20 percent), two countries where the infection rate is higher than Italy's.

Just 9 percent of respondents in Italy said they would consider holidaying in the US this summer, and 6 percent for China. The countries that Italians surveyed considered most appealing were Spain (23 percent, despite a higher number of coronavirus cases than Italy), Finland (22 percent) and Norway (20 percent).

But most people in Italy won't be going anywhere this year: just one in two respondents said they had holiday plans in 2020, according to one recent survey by Italian public opinion research institute Demoskopika, and more than 90 percent said they'd be staying in Italy.

Nearly a quarter said they were afraid to travel, while around 15 percent said they couldn't afford it.


Italy's economy is expected to be hit hardest in Europe by its long Covid-19 shutdown and ongoing travel restrictions that continue to impact its crucial tourism industry, with the EU forecasting this week that tourism would be one of the slowest sectors to recover

Around 60 percent of Italy's hotels and restaurants are in danger of going out of business within a year, national statistics office Istat warns, risking some 800,000 jobs.

While Italy has been open to tourists from the EU, Schengen Zone and UK since early June, many flight routes have yet to resume, many hotels still haven't reopened, and most countries outside Europe – including the US and China – currently have travel bans in place.

Some 5.6 billion Americans visited Italy in 2019, making them the second-biggest group behind Germans (12.1 million). Visitors from the US account for an estimated €2.8 billion of Italy's €42 billion annual revenues from tourism, with July typically the most popular time to come.

For its survey YouGov interviewed around 1,000 people in Italy between June 29th-July 5th, as well as equivalent samples in nine other countries.

We want to know what you think: should Italy welcome tourists back this summer, or is it wiser to for everyone to stay home? Let us know by filling in this survey and we'll write an article about our readers' views.

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Italy’s summer tourism boom driven by American arrivals

Tourist spending in Italy is set to return to pre-pandemic levels this summer, boosted largely by visitors from the US, says a new industry report.

Italy's summer tourism boom driven by American arrivals

Italy’s tourism earnings are predicted to total €17 billion this summer, restoring the industry to a state of health not seen since the start of the pandemic, according to a study released by the retailers’ association Comfcommercio on Monday.

Americans are the lead drivers of the recovery, the report shows, with 2.2 million US visitors expected to bring in €2.1 billion between July and September – 20 percent more than over the same period in 2019.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which parts of Italy will get the most tourism this summer?

Canadians, Australians and South Africans are also anticipated to make up a significant proportion of this year’s visitors.

The high value of the dollar against the euro is thought to be partly responsible for this year’s boom in US arrivals.

The euro slipped to parity with the dollar for the first time in nearly 20 years this month, as a cut in Russian gas supplies to Europe heightened fears of a recession in the eurozone.

It has since recovered a little, to around $1.02 per euro, but remains a huge bargain for visitors, giving tourists from dollar countries a spending power boost of well over 10 percent from six months ago.

The number of Spanish arrivals is also expected to return pre-pandemic levels this summer, with an estimated one million visitors due to arrive between July and September.

Domestic tourism is also up, with 35 million Italians travelling on holiday in their own country despite an ongoing cost of living crisis caused by soaring inflation and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, according to a separate study by the agricultural association Coldiretti.

READ ALSO: Ferragosto: Why the long August holidays are untouchable for Italians

By contrast, the number of tourists coming to Italy from Asian countries is down; while EU sanctions introduced in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have seen Russian tourism drop to near zero.

Germany, a key source of tourism particularly in the Italian south, was down 27 percent in July compared to 2019 – a drop thought to be caused by air travel disruption.

In a typical year, the majority of Italy’s tourists (14.1 percent) come from Germany, figures from Italy’s National Statistics Agency Istat show. Around three percent come from the US, and another three percent from the UK.

“The return of foreign tourism after three years helps to consolidate our economic recovery. The outlook, however, is uncertain due to the decrease in consumption, the unrest in air transport and the unknown pandemic,” said Confcommercio president Carlo Sangalli in a televised statement.

“Support for the tourism sector must therefore be among the priorities of the next executive in terms of combating expensive energy and reducing the tax burden,” he added.

Italy will vote for a new government in late September after its ‘unity’ coalition government collapsed in July, triggering snap elections.