ROME – For many Europeans, nothing says a winter vacation like hitting the slopes, which just wouldn’t be complete without the saunas, après-ski cocktails by the fireside and lavish dinners in cozy cabins. But this year, many European governments are calling for a ban on ski tourism – particularly in Italy, France and Austria – where the first large-scale events of the coronavirus pandemic began last winter, long before that anyone knows how bad this pandemic was to become.
Ski tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry for France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, employing tens of thousands of seasonal workers and providing traditional winter fun to millions of people who travel to alpine regions and feed local economies. These areas earn over 75% of their annual income between December and February most years, which means that even a few weeks less will lead to financial problems down the road.
The lifts that carry skiers to mountain tops are generally owned by the state, which means governments can unilaterally decide when to open based on a variety of factors including snowfall, weather forecast and snowfall. COVID-19. The World Health Organization weighed in earlier this week, urging EU governments in countries with ski tourism to think “very, very carefully” whether the slopes should be open at Christmas. “We call on all countries to look at the ski season and other reasons for mass gatherings and to look very, very carefully at the associated risks,” said Mike Ryan, WHO’s senior emergency specialist. at a press conference.
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