Weigh in on the loss of the Asian and Russian travel market

“The non-acceptance of Russian and Chinese vaccines for the green pass creates enormous damage: infrastructure, services suffer, and it adds damage to those who are already in a serious situation,” Jelinic said. Suffice it to say that in cities like Rome, Chinese tourism had become the third largest arrivals market in 2019 as the European Year of Tourism started from Venice in 2018, redrawing the Silk Road.

Some markets are in net loss, but the Russian and Chinese markets no longer exist. These are tourist flows that weigh heavily in the balance of payments for the many services associated with travel (personal shopper, event tickets, museums, personalized tours).

“Cities like Rome, Florence, Venice live thanks and above all to foreign tourism that has been absent for too long, and there are travel agencies and tour operators that have a product exclusively focused on these markets, so it’s complicated, otherwise impossible, to diversify”, declares the president of the FIAVET.

“The risk of selling our tourism assets to foreign multinationals is imminent. Bans cannot fail to force us to think about the consequences of these choices,” added Jelinic.

The President of FIAVET recalls that even the UN expresses itself in this sense.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has welcomed the request from the World Health Organization (WHO) to lift or relax travel restrictions. “It is now clear that travel restrictions are not effective in suppressing the international spread of the virus as stated by the WHO in recent days,” Jelinic said, “This is the same WHO that during the last meeting in Geneva, noted that health limitations can cause economic and social damage.

International tourist arrivals worldwide fell 73% in 2020, falling to levels not seen in 30 years. And while tourism saw a modest improvement in the third quarter of 2021, international arrivals between January and September 2021 were still 20% below 2020 levels and 76% below 2019 levels according to UNWTO data.

“If we don’t open up to all foreigners and in particular to the Russian and Asian market, other competing countries will,” Jelinic concluded. “And on top of losing points in the global tourism rankings, we will lose the opportunity for a sustainable recovery integrated with that of the rest of the world.”

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Willie R. Golden