The European Tourism Association (Etoa) has asked the Italian government to continue supporting tourism despite the coronavirus outbreak.
With up to 16 million people under quarantine to curb the spread of Covid-19, Etoa has asked for immediate relief for the tourism industry.
It says attractions and museums should be encouraged to offer refunds or credit notes to tour operators with pre-paid tickets, and has asked the government to suspend restricted driving zones for private coaches.
Etoa has asked for the latter change because private cars present a lower risk of infection compared with public transport, and businesses trying to continue operations need “all possible support”.
“Operators are facing unprecedented short-term financial harm; it is essential that we ensure we have the capacity to support recovery when demand returns,” said Tom Jenkins, Etoa’s chief executive.
“Measures introduced to limit coach access are often controversial – in current circumstances they are manifestly self-defeating. Local and national government must act now to suspend them.”
The coronavirus has killed more than 350 people in Italy, up from just more than 230 yesterday (8 March).