Italy: Emilia earthquake, first cancellations by tourists

National tourism agency's campaign begins

31 May, 19:02

(ANSAmed) - ROME, MAY 31 - The first cancellations are being made by Italians and foreigners not only in the areas affected by the earthquake but in all the Romagna coast and even in areas of Veneto and lake Como. In order to avoid the summer season to be a disaster, the national tourism agency (ENIT) and the mission structure for the revitalisation of Italy's image will, in the next few weeks, launch a big media campaign on foreign markets to reassure those who had already booked or were about to do so.

"The first cancellations by tourists are being made", Maurizio Melucci, tourism councillor in Emilia Romagna and member of ENIT's administrative council, tells ANSA. "Not only in the areas affected by the earthquake but on the Veneto coast and on lake Como. Alarming reports are being sent abroad, in some cases exploitation is being carried out for economic purposes: there is an interest by competing countries to move masses of tourists. For now the damage is limited but it must not be underestimated. ENIT has already been at work for a few days in order to give the right information to foreign markets; in the next few weeks ENIT and the tourism department will launch a campaign to avoid the devastating effects on tourism, beach resorts and non, in the north of Italy." Also Patrizia Rinaldis, president of the Accommodation Association in Rimini, says that "many phone calls came through asking information." Rinaldis added that "they are mainly requests arriving from Italians, some of which are showing signs of a growing psychosis: we've had cancellations for July although we're still in May and there's been no damages here at all. Sure, the earth shook, but the tremors were felt also in Piedmont. The economy is already in a state of crisis and this is all we needed."(ANSAmed).

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