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As the coronavirus enters its third full month affecting the globe, the tourism industry is able to more precisely quantify the scale of its financial impact.
European commissioner for Internal Markets Thierry Breton on Monday told a French television station that the estimated financial toll of the virus on the tourism industry in Europe amounts to roughly €1 billion ($1.1 billion) per month. This takes into account the roughly two million lost hotel nights reported by European Union member states in January and February.
The reports follows news over the weekend that one of the biggest tourist draws on the continent — the Louvre in Paris — was closed.
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While the commissioner’s remarks were focused on the loss of Chinese arrivals to Europe, it’s likely that the decline will continue further, as large gatherings across the world — including massive tourism trade fair ITB in Berlin — are canceled, and fears about the virus spook travelers from all nations into staying home. In another example, the head of Italy’s hotel trade association called the U.S.’ heightened travel advisory for Italy as the “final blow” to the nation’s tourism industry.
That said, Breton said that for now, the EU expects the economic impact will be “relatively limited” outside the tourism sector and a few other industries. The bloc will reassess that view when companies begin to report their earnings in March.