As Italy eases its lockdown measures, the picturesque Amalfi Coast remained empty on Friday (May 22), waiting for visitors to come.
The pastel-coloured houses on the mountainside in the town of Positano is one of the most iconic images of the Amalfi Coast and a magnet for writers, movie stars and honeymooners from around the world.
But for now, Positano’s beauty is for its residents to enjoy.
The silence of the town is broken by the sound of waves on its empty beach.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought major changes in global tourism where social distancing and hygiene will be priority.
Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, began easing restrictions, but Italians are still not allowed to travel outside their regions and foreign travel has ground to a halt.
The Italian government has allowed for individual regions to choose the date that beaches can open to the public again but Campania, where the Amalfi Coast falls under, is still waiting.
“We are therefore in a waiting phase but we are confident because we have only one certainty, that there are many people who want to visit our beautiful Positano calling every day. There is therefore a substantial demand, even from the Italian tourism market, a difference from the other years,” said Michele De Lucia, mayor of Positano.
Italy is heavily dependent on tourism, which accounts for 13% of GDP and employs around 13% of the country’s total work force.
It has been hit hard by the pandemic, which forced borders to close, restaurants and hotels to shut and airlines to ground flights.
According to think-tank Nomisma, around 500,000 summer jobs could be at risk this year due to fallout from the virus, while 100 billion euros could be lost as holiday-makers stay away.
Italy’s roughly 8,000 km-long coastline, home to around 11,000 beach businesses, accounts for 37% of tourist revenue.
That share is much higher in islands like Sicily and Sardinia and the less wealthy south.
(Production: Ciro De Luca, Fabiano Franchitti)