May was not a great month for northern Italy, with two earthquakes striking on May 20 and 29 in the region of Emilia-Romagna, causing several deaths and damage to some buildings.
Italy’s Minister for Regional Affairs, Tourism and Sport Piero Gnudi released a statement today “to reassure all those who have planned or are in the process of planning a holiday in the nearby areas.”
Emilia-Romagna, the seaside locations on the Adriatic coastline, the main cities and historic locations nearby the places directly affected by the earthquake, are “definitively all accessible and safe,” he continued, noting that the Adriatic “Riviera” was not impacted by the earthquakes. “All touristic infrastructure, including accommodation and other services, are functioning perfectly.”
The earthquakes were concentrated in the bordering areas of the provinces of Modena, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia and Mantova. “At the present, with the exception of these particular areas, there is no hindrance to the normal touristic activities and services in the remaining region, or in the provinces of the neighbouring regions,” Gnudi’s statement continued, adding that transportation systems, hotels and cultural attractions are also operating as per normal.
According to the Montreal Gazette, the area “cannot afford to lose the tourist industry after the tremors…caused costly damage to buildings, factories and warehouses.” Still, the paper says, reports are emerging of “anxious people” canceling their bookings.
We reached out to Italy’s Tourism Board in New York to get their take on the situation, and a representative who requested anonymity said that while it’s still too early to see the overall tourism trajectory, he and the team had not yet seen any signs of a decline. “There will probably be some backlash, but there’s no news yet.”
Gnudi, he added, was not reaching out to the U.S. market, but to the Europeans who more frequently vacation in Emilia-Romagna. “He wanted to be sure that people understand where it happened…It was designed to set the record straight for people who were planning to go there.”
Likewise, Gianni Miradoli, VP of product at Central Holidays, said that he had not heard of any cancelations. “There have been some enquiries,” he acknowledged, “but cancelations, no…We go to Modena on our tours to try the balsamic vinegar, and the company that does the vinegar sent us an email saying that while the area was ‘touched’ by the earthquake, everything was still on.”