Heatwaves mean Italian tourism ‘has no future’: German health minister

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Heatwaves mean Italian tourism ‘has no future’: German health minister
Italy’s civil protection service distributes water to tourists at Rome’s Colosseum. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

Italian cities “have no long-term future” as tourist destinations because they’re becoming too hot, Germany’s health minister said as he described intense heat while visiting Italy on holiday.


Italy’s government insisted on Monday that it has a plan to make tourism “sustainable” despite the climate crisis after German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wrote during a trip to Italy that tourism in the country “has no future”.

“The heatwave here is spectacular,” the epidemiologist, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), wrote on Twitter at the start of his trip.

“If things continue like this, these vacation destinations will have no long-term future.

READ ALSO: Could cooler Sweden replace the Med as Europe's top summer tourist destination?

“Climate change is destroying southern Europe. An era is coming to an end." 

Lauterbach shared a photo from a church in Montepulciano, Tuscany, saying: “it’s also a cold room, Rome is still too hot,” and suggested that “churches should be open during the daytime in heatwaves to offer protection."

Lauterbach’s comments came amid media reports of international visitors reconsidering travel plans to Italy as temperatures soared above 40C in many parts of the country.

An intense and prolonged heatwave sweeping Europe has seen above-average temperatures across much of the continent in recent weeks, with the heat fuelling devastating wildfires in southern European countries.

READ ALSO: No more 'dolce vita': How extreme weather could change Italian tourism forever

On Monday, Italian Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè said in statement sent to national media: “I thank the German Minister of Health for having chosen Italy as a tourist destination, which has always been the favourite destination among his compatriots for holidays and, of course, we look forward to welcoming him again in the future.”


“We are aware of the climate change underway and which, I remind you, does not concern only southern Europe but the whole planet.”

She said sustainability was central to Italy’s “strategic plan for tourism” which “will allow us to make Italian tourism welcoming and sustainable 365 days a year.”

“However, we are certain that the Germans will continue to enjoy Italian holidays more and more.”


Comments (1)

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Paul Rivas 2023/07/24 12:24
Why does he not holiday in the UK? Its nice and cool and you do not have to shower, just stand outside!

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