Venice hotels tally cost of November floods

ROME (AP) — Venice’s hoteliers association estimates that
the city’s hotels suffered about 30 million euros ($34 million) worth of
structural damage during November’s floods.

The overall losses, though, are higher after adding in the
lower revenues that local hotels have reported in the wake of the surging high
tides that afflicted the lagoon city. Earlier this month, the city’s hoteliers
association said that in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, 45% of
reservations were canceled.

“We are still waiting to calculate the loss in revenue and to
quantify how much was lost in terms of canceled reservations,” Venice hoteliers
association’s president Vittorio Bonacini said Friday during a press conference
in Rome with the foreign press. 

Bonacini noted that last year, during the New Year’s Eve
period, Venice’s hotels were fully booked. This year hotel bookings are far
below 50% of the available rooms. 

Hoteliers believe that tourists were scared by the
incomplete news coverage showing inundated streets, bars and shops, without
explaining that Venice coped well with the high tide, reopening most of the
businesses right after the November flooding, despite the damage. 

Last month, Venice suffered its worst flooding in more than
50 years, with its houses, businesses and historic monuments severely hit.
Total damages are estimated at around 1 billion euros.

Venice attracts more than 25 million tourists each year, and
the effects of mass tourism on the fragile lagoon environment have fueled a decades-long
debate on the future of the city.

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