BRAZEN, Belgium – Bruges Mayor Dark de Fau was the first to realize that when he quickly crossed the burglane in front of the Gothic Town Hall in early March morning, there was a desperate mistake about European tourism and there was nothing but silence.
“There are always people. Always, ’said De Fau. That morning?
“Nothing. He said that no one in the center of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe is in the big square.
Six months later, as Europe’s worst tourist summer season in history begins to close, COVID-19 will still reveal its polluted grip on the continent.
If anything, the epidemic could intensify in the next few months, with billions of euros across the European Union and government support on the continent and tens of millions of euros in social security measures escalating tensions around the sector.
So far this optic shows that “the revenue loss for hotels, restaurants, tour operators, long-distance train carriers and airlines in the first half of 2020 was about 85-90%,” the bloc’s European Commission executive said. From the shores of Greece to the vast territories of the Tratorius of Rome and the museums of Paris without any land.
And yet, the European Commission told the Associated Press that “bookings for September and October are unusually low,” with Bruges’ capacity at 10%. It is hoped that a brief increase in business in July will be the refuge of something more sustainable. In the summer, however, COVID-19 pollution, new restrictive measures, and regional color codes turned fresh red, causing a disaster on local travel.
This has made the European tourism sector more dependent on hope than anything else. Bruges It was all clear towards the end of the summer, when ordinary wearers of American and Asian tourists mingled with Europeans on the dirt roads under facing houses to increase the number of annual visitors to the city of 110,000 to more than 7 million.
“The swans are within themselves,” Michiel chuckled at Michigalens as he slowed his boat behind the bank of the Swans, failing to go fast over the canals. On a typical day – unlike when it had 114 customers instead of 1200 – tourists ruled the water instead of birds. Now a boat may appear where a single pair was sailing, while usually 40 people fit in one.
Tourists who can survive a few hours wearing a mask have some advantages. In the bruises it extends to the city’s famous museums where the medieval Flemish primitives are central. Instead of other tourists grabbing flashing smartphones, each visitor can now take a few minutes to study in detail our Lady with one of John Van Ike’s most famous photographs, the “Child Jesus, St. George, St. Donna’s and Cannon van der Pawel.”
However, these are all bitter for museum officials. Across Europe, almost all months of this year had to be put off for a few months and its outlook was shameless.
Attendance at Bruges Museums is now down a quarter from 2019. But during the July rally, “we had 50%.”
“It simply came to our notice then. “Every month we see that number drop,” said Jonathan Nokawski, business director of the Bruze Museum. “I can tell you that this year we’re looking at a loss of 3.4 to 4 million euros.” Everything is happening despite expectations.
“We had that we thought we would have a huge number of visitors,” he said.
It all runs fast for the survival of hotels, restaurants, shops and families. It is much more manageable for those who have a building than for those who rent a house, as they often have to pay a monthly stipend. With reservations dwindling for the next few months, some hotels will simply close, knowing that the costs never match the meager earnings. Others use lower winter rates in the summer.
Many pushed workers into temporary unemployment and they acknowledged that government assistance was a help. But they fear that even if the EU recently acknowledges the recovery of 750 billion euros, it will soon disappear.
“In the coming months we will see that a lot of places are going bankrupt. A lot of people will be unemployed, ”said Luc Bruce, co-owner of the hotel-restaurant Duke de Borgon, which overlooks the canal.
He said social security only goes so far.
“We have to pay rent for our building. We also have to pay all the staff. We have to pay insurance. Of course we are – we are not safe. “At the moment we can’t pay anymore, we’re going bankrupt,” Bros. said.
Despite the nineteenth-century novel “Bruges-la-Morte” (“Bruges, the Dead City”) that has transformed the city into a monotonous and decaying metaphor, there is a strong belief that people can turn it around – that tourism will survive,
It is a feeling that there are already several blockchains in early October about reviving and reforming tourism in general and a special EU summit is planned.
Not sure how long the epidemic will last, Bruges has already decided to abandon all blockbuster exposure. Instead, it will focus on local artists who have been financially damaged by the epidemic. This includes a photographer whose job is to show the loneliness created in the CVD-19 city.
“They get funding. They are paid, they can survive, and we can give visitors something new, something inspiring, without all the logistical problems that the coroner (virus) brings, ’said Nokovsky.
The question of whether there will be more barriers, national restrictions or restrictions on international travel still haunts everyone.
Renowned chocolate star Dominic Parsons was lucky enough to survive in a huge local fan base so that he could escape the huge crowd of cruise ships that came from his shop to buy his chocolate in the shadow of the cathedral.
“The hardest thing is you don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what it will be like in September, October after the real chocolate season starts. Then it’s Halloween, Santa Claus, Christmas. ”
Now the hint of winter and more uncertainty.
“We thought we were safe and we had a great life. And, now it’s happening, ’Parsons said.
Rough Kessert, Associated Press