Covid, in Sicily it will be an Easter without tourists

The most pessimistic are already aiming for 2022, others are focused on a summer in which Sicily, however, will not be perceived as a “Covid free” region as last year. The big names in tourism, on the other hand, are already postponing their openings for a few weeks and canceling the few reservations in March. The announced tightness until April 6 forces Sicily to another Easter without tourists and will inevitably have repercussions on the sector that licks its wounds after a annus horribilis in which between 60 and 80 percent of turnover went up in smoke. Quantifying in economic terms: in a few days we will give up 200 million euros, as happened in 2020.

See you again in 2022

“It was useless to have any illusions about this Easter: even in the yellow zone, with the regional borders closed, the tourism of large numbers in Sicily is cut off – says Nicola Farruggio of Federalberghi Palermo – now, if all goes well, our horizon is May or June and limit losses in the summer, even if Sicily will not be perceived as covid free like last year. But the real goal is 2022 “. The Easter of 2019 records seems to be another era in Palermo, the third most visited city in Italy with 324 thousand passengers in Punta Raisi, or that of 2018, which in the capital capital of culture brought 300 thousand visitors as a dowry and in which the hotels maintained a an average of 70 per cent of beds occupied, often up to the bridges of April 25th or May 1st. “At the Posta hotel – continues Farruggio – we have perhaps 2 percent full rooms, many hotels are closed due to a question of costs, such as the coastal structures of Cefal├╣, others are at the window since the end of 2019”.

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The watches of the tourist market remained in October 2019. “We have been at a standstill for 17 months and by now the airlines and foreign tour operators have started to negotiate and promote the 2022 season: it is clear that the 2021 international tourist season is now archived – the tour operator of Tour Plus Sicily Dario Ferrante prophesies – the foreign market has long since disappeared and the little that exists is concentrated in the summer or between September and October, as long as it can be canceled without penalty: unfortunately we will miss the historical markets who moved at Easter, from Germany to France, but also Russia and Eastern Europe “.

The big ones at the window

The limitations also interfere with large luxury hotel projects, ready to open doors. There is Villa Igiea, which had to come back already brand new last year and instead has rescheduled the reopening for a year next June. Or the Grand Palladium Sicilia Resort in Campofelice di Roccella, which will open on April 30th, well after Easter. The Grand hotel et des Palmes, which has lost several bookings by groups of Americans, is waiting for signals: “We are ready to open at Easter, but with the closures we will delay – says the architect and entrepreneur Giuseppe Corvaia – we have, instead, reservations in May and we hope that they will not be conditioned by the moment of uncertainty, even if we are confident for the summer “. After all, an important two-year period had opened for Sicily in terms of new openings, with the San Domenico Four Seasons in Taormina and the confirmation – news of the last few hours – of the Giotti group’s investment, supported by funds for 14.5 million euros from Invitalia, for the recovery of three Sicilian luxury hotels, including the historic hotel Excelsior in Palermo and the Des Etrangers in Syracuse.

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We open for the Sicilians

But there are those who do not give up and aim for the internal market of the island. This is the case of Aeroviaggi, a big tourist company in Palermo, which on March 12 will reopen one of its four structures, the Torre del Barone hotel in Sciacca: “We will be at half capacity, all in safety and tests for arriving tourists to leave again, rules permitting, from local tourism and to give an important signal at a time when there is a great desire to live – says the patron Marcello Mangia – needless to say, however, that we have already had cancellations from Northern Italy for Easter, even if we have some reservations from abroad starting from 23 April “. It is better than nothing to hope for in the Sicilian market. “There are colleagues from Catania who focus on the business travel market and on the domestic market – says Nico Torrisi of Federalberghi – but we need refreshments and it is necessary to extend the layoffs, whose deadline, for a sector that has already sacrificed many seasonal workers. , would have disastrous consequences “.

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