‘Losing €1 billion a month’: Coronavirus hits European tourism

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Chinese tourists are normally commonplace at sites such as the Louvre in Paris /AFP

Across Europe, normally bustling tourist sites have seen visitor numbers plummet amid fears over the coronavirus epidemic. On Monday, the EU’s industry chief said the tourism sector was losing around €1 billion a month because of the virus.

The figure was announced by the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, who had previously warned that tourism was one of the sectors likely to be hit hardest financially as the virus continues to spread.

European tourism has seen a drop off in two waves, firstly as the virus began to take hold in China, curtailing the number of travellers from that country, and secondly as the virus has spread around Europe, leading to visitors staying away from impacted areas, and governments to close tourist attractions and cancel events to prevent further outbreaks.

In Paris, the Louvre Museum was closed for a second day on Monday as employees refused to work over fears of contracting the disease.

Meanwhile Italy, for which tourism makes up 13 percent of the economy and where nearly 1,700 cases of the virus have now been reported, has seen hotel cancellations rates reaching up to 90 percent in some areas, according to the government.

Additional reporting by France 24

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