News

Youth travel businesses in Italy bearing the brunt of COVID-19 fears

Feb 28, 2020

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Tour operators, hostels, and other accommodation and hospitality providers based in Italy are busy dealing with cancellations, but worse, not generating bookings for the upcoming season. WYSE Travel Confederation members in Italy are currently estimating accumulating losses due to cancellations related to the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. 

“Despite there being zero active COVID-19 cases in Rome at the moment, cancellations have increased 120% compared to last year and we have 40% less reservations, mostly caused by hysteria” said Fabio Coppola of YELLOWSQUARE, a chain of hostels. 

Some members in other European countries have noted that cancellations in Italy in some cases mean opportunities for other destinations to accommodate last-minute changes and bookings by groups. 

“People are panicking and prefer to cancel their trips, said Irene Chimenti, Founder & CEO of Italy on a Budget. “We have cancellations daily for now through May, so many tours have been cancelled because of this. We are not receiving bookings for the season. American students staying in Italy are returning back to the US. Hotels are empty and restaurants too.”  

Events hosted by hostels, which are often open to the public, are also being cancelled.  

“Panic seems to win,” said Massimo Galimi, Director of Roma Scout Center. “Hostel business has been damaged by a lot of cancellations from schools, organised groups and individual clients.” 

Although the current mood and business outlook seem grim in Italy, the like-minded businesses of WYSE Travel Confederation’s youth travel community represent a positive support system for some. 

“To be honest, the situation is pretty bad, but we are receiving a lot of supportive feedback from the hostel industry and we are very glad to be part of this community, said Federico Scotti of Ostello Bello which has two hostels in Milan. “It is very different from other businesses. We hope the situation will get better soon.” 

Has your youth and student travel business been affected by the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak? Share your insights with us here.

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