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Ban on Americans Sinks Europe’s Tourist Industry. U.S. visitors are now banned from Europe due to America’s out-of-control COVID pandemic. The ban is likely to cost Europe’s tourist industry more than $15 billion this year, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO).
Visitors from the U.S. make up about 29 percent of Europe’s tourist trade in a typical year, the WTO calculates.
“We desperately need the Americans to solve their coronavirus situation or we’re going to be ruined,” said an art gallery owner near Italy’s Lake Como, a magnet for U.S. travelers.
About 4.4 million Americans visited Italy in 2019, spending roughly $6.2 billion.
Tourism makes up 13 percent of Italy’s economy and 9 percent of Europe’s overall.
Americans visiting France number about five million in a typical year and usually leave about $5 billion there.
The European Union also has banned Chinese tourists, which account for about 10 percent of the region’s tourist economy, until China agrees to lift its ban on European visitors.
If the current situation persists, Europe could lose half of its 37 million tourism-related jobs, the European Union has warned.
Airlines in a Tailspin. Denver-based Frontier Airlines has told employees that, due to dwindling reservations, the company will shrink its schedule. Delta Airlines reported that business and international travelers, two key markets, have not returned to the skies. AirAsia Berhad, a Malaysian budget carrier, has said it may not be able to stay in business.
Now, after announcing earlier this month that it might fire up to 20,000 workers, on July 9 United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it might need to double that number.
The job cuts could total 45 percent of United’s pre-pandemic workforce.
The Chicago-based airline, which says it is losing $40 million a day, has sent letters to 15,000 flight attendants, 2,200 pilots, and 11,000 customer service workers, warning them that their jobs might vanish.
The letters are required by federal labor regulations.
The decision was prompted by the recent rise in COVID cases across the nation and the public’s continuing reluctance to travel by air.
United said it will know by mid-August the kinds and numbers of jobs to be cut as federal financial supports to the airline industry end on 1 October.
In June, Delta Airlines notified 2,500 pilots of potential layoffs. The company has been mum about the fate of other workers.
In recent years, U.S. airlines have been among the industry’s most profitable after a long period of mergers and buyouts, debt reduction, and streamlining operations. Those financial gains have fallen victim to the global economic shutdown.
Worldwide, the airline industry could lose as much as $84 billion this year, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Carnival to Beach 13 Ships in Reorganization. Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise operator, will rid itself of 13 ships, about 9 percent of its fleet, as it downsizes as part of a plan to reorganize in the wake of the economic shutdown that docked its ships for months.
The company is “reorganizing to emerge stronger, leaner and more efficient,” Arnold Donald, Carnival CEO, said on 10 July. “Even when we return to full-scale operations, we don’t expect to return to the same staffing requirements” because work will be done “in a more efficient manner.”
The no-sail order imposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expires on 24 July but cruise lines have extended their hiatus until mid-September.
Carnival has scheduled three cruises in Europe for August but those voyages depend on American tourists, which are currently banned from Europe because the U.S. COVID pandemic is not under control.
To prepare to return to sea, Carnival and rivals Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings all have engaged public health experts to advise them on screening and testing potential passengers and mitigating the risk of spreading the virus aboard ships.
Even with that, “this is a dangerous time to be sailing again,” said Ali Nouri, president of the Federation of American Scientists.
In Europe, for example, a small cruise operator ran a day cruise from Finland to Estonia in late June. Passengers were limited to 30 percent of the boat’s capacity and all signed a form declaring they were symptom-free. Later, one passenger came down with the virus and several were quarantined at home.
Carnival’s cruises that are operating have drawn passengers mostly from local markets, Donald said.
On 10 July, Carnival reported a loss of more than $4 billion in its most recent quarter, the worst quarterly loss in its history.
The company also said it expects to burn through $650 million a month in fixed costs for the rest of this year and warned that it might be able to fulfill the terms of a loan.

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