The Impact of Covid-19 on International Tourism Flows to Italy: Evidence from Mobile Phone Data

34 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2021

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 19, 2021

Abstract

This paper analyses the response to the COVID-19 pandemic of inbound tourism to Italy looking at variation across countries and across provinces. To this end, it uses weekly data on the number of foreign visitors in Italy from January 2019 until February 2021, as provided by a primary mobile phone operator. We document a very robust negative relation at province level between local epidemiological conditions and the inflow of foreign travellers. Moreover, provinces with a historically higher share of art tourism, and those that used to be ‘hotel intensive’ were hit the most during the pandemic, while provinces with a more prevalent orientation towards business tourism proved to be more resilient. Entry restrictions with varying degrees of strictness played a key role in explaining cross-country patterns. After controlling for these restrictions, we observed that the travellers that could arrive by their own, private, means of transportation decreased proportionally less. Overall, this evidence emphasises that contagion risk considerations played a significant role in shaping international tourism patterns during the pandemic.

Keywords: international tourism, travel restrictions, Covid-19

JEL Classification: I15, L83, F14

Suggested Citation

Della Corte, Valerio and Doria, Claudio and Oddo, Giacomo, The Impact of Covid-19 on International Tourism Flows to Italy: Evidence from Mobile Phone Data (October 19, 2021). Bank of Italy Occasional Paper No. 647, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3960060 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3960060

Valerio Della Corte (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Claudio Doria

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Pretoria 175
85100 Potenza
Italy

Giacomo Oddo

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

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