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Venice hotels counting the cost of November’s floods

International

FILE – In this Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 file photo, a man holds his luggage as he wades his way through water in Venice, Italy. 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 when the lower revenues that local hotels have reported in the wake of the surging high tides are added in. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

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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 cancelled.

“We are still waiting to calculate the loss in revenue and to quantify how much was lost in terms of cancelled 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 hotels 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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