The prospects of tourism in Ticino, in the age of coronavirus

The looming summer holidays raise many questions about phase 3 of the coronavirus crisis, i.e. when the safety measures will be further relaxed, in terms of the effects the Covid-19 pandemic will have on tourism, an important sector in Switzerland and especially in the Canton of Ticino. Recently, Prof. Rico Maggi, Director of the USI Institute for Economic Research (IRE), shared his views on transportation economics , followed now by Riccardo Curtale , researcher at the Tourism Observatory of IRE (O-tur), who describes a scenario for tourism in Ticino in a short video interview published by RSI Online.

The tourism industry has evolved a great deal in recent decades, thanks in part to the boom of low-cost travel and the growing demand. But the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has halted this dynamic, on the one hand because the increased safety standards to contain the novel cornavirus contagion require transport providers (air carriers, above all) to take measures that will increase costs, and on the other hand because the pandemic has affected large portions of the population in economic terms, with a significant rise of unemployment. According to Curtale, "in the short term, the crisis will have an effect on tourism, which could return to being a bit more of a luxury good. People will still feel the need to go on holiday, but will look for alternative solutions to meet this need, also in response to lower incomes and/or increased costs. This means shorter stays and short-range travel, for example".

In Ticino, second homes are expected to keep up the holiday season. In the Canton it is estimated that 43% of all overnight stays are indeed in second homes. As for hotels and other forms of paid accommodation, on the other hand, "60% of hotel stays are made by Swiss people, while in the para-hotel segment the number rises to 75-80%", explains Curtale, "but we cannot say whether these figures will be maintained this year or not. There are psychological effects to be taken into account. Ticino is the region in Switzerland with the highest number of tourists in relation to the resident population, a factor that creates a certain perception of ’crowding’ and which could be seen negatively by Swiss tourists who would thus choose another destination in the country".